Privacy gives us the power to create boundaries and protect ourselves from the interference of others in our lives. It protects our personal information from public scrutiny. It allowed us to negotiate who we are and how we want to interact with the world around us. It protects us from arbitrary and unjustified use of power by states, companies and any other person. It is essential for human beings and we make decisions about it every single day. It gives us some space to live, allows us to think freely without any discrimination, and giving us the power to decide that who know more and less about us. In modern society, to make privacy as a right is a debate in modern freedoms. Our capabilities to protect privacy are greater day by day than before.
Over 130 countries in their constitution decided the protection of privacy of person, in the world.
What is Right to Privacy
Right to privacy is very subjective. Because something is private for me is not necessary that it is private for others. And it also differs from person to person means at one time we protected our phone videos from the eyes of parents and these videos we easily share with our friends and some things we share with our parents easily and protected from our friends.
According to Black Law Dictionary- Right to privacy means right to be live alone and right of a person to be free from unwarranted interference of others.
Privacy is taken in different ways in different situations. Tom Gaiety said ‘right to privacy is bound to include body’ inviolability and integrity and intimacy of personal identity including marital privacy. Edward Shills explain privacy as zero relationships between two or more persons in the sense that there is no interaction or communication between them if they so choose’.
This right is not mentioned in our constitution but it is interpreted by the Supreme Court in various cases. In one amendment it protects us from government and police from searching without ‘probable cause’.
Right to privacy is protected under the right to life and personal liberty which is article 21 of our Indian Constitution.
Evolution of Right to Privacy as Fundamental Right
Privacy is something which covers feeling, emotion, psychological harm also. In1890, Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis identified that injury to feeling also come under legal injury. In early time our laws based on only physical injury and also gave a remedy for them. But a human being has a need to the certain right which protect their mental injury and their privacy. It is not mentioned in the Indian Constitution, it comes from various judicial interpretation. Right to Privacy first came in India Jurisprudence in 1800 when local British court gave judgement as of right to privacy in favour of pardanashin woman to use her balcony without the fear of neighbourhood gaze.
Then Supreme Court in 1954 told that right to privacy not come under right to life. After in case of M.P. Sharma v. Satish Chandra, eight judge bench when they had the power to search and seize documents from the Dalmia Group decided to reject the right to privacy because Constitutional Makers did not include this right in the Constitution. After then-Supreme Court in case of Kharak Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh (1963 AIR 12951964 SCR (1) 332), rejected privacy as fundamental right again. Twelve long years later, the Supreme Court, with smaller three-judge bench, when faced a case with similar facts Gobind v. State of Madhya Pradesh (1975 AIR 1378 1975 SCR (3) 946 1975 SCC (2) 148 ), realised the existence of a right to privacy as a fundamental right under Article 21.
Court also stated that this right was not absolute and it may interfere with a procedure established by law. Case to case the right to privacy in India developing through a series of decisions over the past 60 years. After a long time in 2017 Supreme Court with nine-judge bench in the case of K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India ((2017) 10 S.C.C.) unanimously gave the decision which overruled the decisions of M.P. Sharma and Kharak Singh and declared, “Privacy is the constitutional core of human dignity.” This ruling is the outcome of a petition which challenged the constitutional validity of the Aadhar Card which is a form of uniform biometrics-based identity card.
In 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes Right to privacy as a human right in Article 12 which stated that-“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks
Is Right to Privacy include Right to Death or Not
The Right to die issue concept in which a human being think that he is entitled to make any decisions for ending his life. As we know that right to life has been interpreted by the Indian judiciary in various ways and it includes several new rights like the right to live with human dignity, right to livelihood, right to shelter, right to privacy, right to food, right to education, right to get pollution free air and water and various other rights which are very essential to upgrade the condition of people so that they fully enjoy the right to life. Then the question arises that whether the right to life also includes right not to live or the right to die because every living being in this world wants to live a long life and he always try by all possible means to increase his life but if his life becomes more painful and bad than death then it is very normal that he may desire for death. This voluntary desire and act of death are known as euthanasia or mercy killing. Euthanasia is termed as ‘catamaran’. Those people who are great saints or heroic persons died wilfully when they feel that they have achieved the purpose of their lives which is termed as ‘echchamaran’.
Death means the termination of life. Death is divided into two kinds – (i) natural and (ii) unnatural death. Many time it is caused by the action of that person and many time it occurs by the action of another person. In India, in both cases, whether by that person action or some other death is considered is a crime. And in the case of Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab (1996 AIR 946 1996 SCC (2) 648 JT 1996 (3) 339 1996 SCALE (2)881), Supreme Court decided that right to life include right to die is not absolute and upheld passive euthanasia.
As we all know that fundamental rights which are in our Constitution are not absolute rights and they are reasonably restricted in the interest of general welfare. One such right is privacy which is one of the most important matters in individual life is that each individual is free to make his or her decisions without the government who told them what they can do or not.
But if privacy is ruled a fundamental right, then it gives strong power to Indian Citizens which somehow harm them. Like in Right to Information Act which is no a fundamental right is passed in the name of transparency but it clearly violates the privacy of government department by providing information to the general public.
If Supreme Court rules in favour that Aadhaar card violates the right to privacy then it creates problems in the ability of the government to manage its mass effectively with various public assistance programmes which were the genesis of Aadhaar in the first place.
So it is a big question that whether the right to privacy is good right for Indian society which is highly C must be added with reasonable restrictions.
“The views of the authors are personal“
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Passive Euthanasia?
Passive euthanasia is the condition when there is the withdrawal of medical treatment by getting the intention of death of a terminally-ill patient or proved that the life of that patient is more harming than death. It is legal in India under strict guidelines. Patients must give the consent through a living will, and must be either terminally ill or in a vegetative state.