By – Sarthak Mago
2nd Year Student, School of Law
Lovely Professional University , Phagwara, Punjab
We are all being tracked from the moment we are born until the moment we die, and even beyond. Even innocuous tweets or Facebook “likes” can reveal sensitive information such as home and workplace locations. The right to privacy is a prized quality of a person’s individuality in contemporary culture. The right to privacy is the freedom to live one’s own life without undue intrusion from others in his private affairs. According to the Oxford Dictionary, privacy is simply described as “avoid publicity” or “the state or circumstance of not being dragged into other people’s social circles or the public eye; isolation.” Information, papers, and numerous other items that belong to individuals but cannot be shared publicly or without the owner’s consent are protected under the right to privacy. Different perspectives have been used to define the right to privacy. The privacy ideas become ambiguous as a result of this. The cultural diversity among cultures has resulted in the adoption of various points of view about the legal regulation of privacy.
“No one shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except in conformity with the legal procedure,” states Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. After reading Article 21, it was decided that “life” refers to all aspects of a man’s life that help to make it happy, full, and worthwhile.
According to a broad interpretation, the right to life guaranteed by Article 21 encompasses more than only animal existence or basic survival. The right to privacy is one of the many facets of life that provide a man’s life greater meaning, completion, and worth living.
HISTORY OF RIGHT TO PRIVACY
In India, the concept of privacy is not new. The ancient Indian knowledge theory, which is based on all Upanishad literature, prescribes meditation, which must be done without any external interruption. The estates and the ‘Arthashastra’ show sufficient concern and regard for the individual’s privacy. The use of curtains is defined in the Ramayana and other classical literatures in a specific way.
Private life is something that everyone should keep private so that others do not think he is crazy. The concept of privacy can also be traced back to the Dharmashastras and ancient texts such as the “Hitopadesha,” which specifically mentions that certain matters concerning worship, family, and sex should be kept private.
Privacy is a fundamental right that is necessary for autonomy and the protection of human dignity, and it serves as the foundation for many other human rights. Privacy allows us to build walls and manage boundaries to protect ourselves from unwarranted intrusion into our lives, allowing us to negotiate who we are and how we want to interact with the world around us. Privacy allows us to set limits on who has access to our bodies, places, and things, as well as our communications and information. The privacy rules enable us to assert our rights in the face of significant power imbalances.
As a result, privacy is an essential means by which we seek to protect ourselves and society from arbitrary and irrational behaviour. Privacy is fundamental to who we are as humans, and we make decisions about it on a daily basis. It allows us to be ourselves without judgement, think freely without discrimination, and is an important part of giving us control over who knows what about us.
More than that, the right of individuals to autonomy and to be mostly free from corporate and political interference in their life is the essence of freedom in a democratic society. One of the key distinctions between authoritarian governments and free societies is the freedom of individuals to decide what information they share with others, subject to clearly defined and carefully considered boundaries. Without a right to privacy, you are open to unrestrained incursions from governments, businesses, or anyone else who wants to meddle in your private affairs. It could refer to a society where the government has unrestricted authority to demand information from you, take money from your bank account, or even enter your home.
PRIVACY AND TECHNOLOGY-
Technology development helps us protect our privacy while doing so, but it also runs the risk of placing us the target of unwarranted observation. The funny thing is that we can easily have our privacy violated without even being aware of it. And how are we going to defend our right to privacy if we can’t even recognise these forms of surveillance in the first place?
Our right to engage in political activism and express our opinions to others is protected in part by privacy. The ability to do so, if desired, in anonymity is a critical component of political association equality. Because failing to do so would limit people’s ability to vote for the candidate, we preserve privacy at the ballot.
In India, there is no specific legislation dealing with data privacy and protection. However, the right to privacy can be derived from various other laws that pertain to issues such as contractual relationships, intellectual property, information technology, and so on. Now, although there is no specific legislation for the protection of privacy, Indian Courts recognise this right as an implied right.
.Article 21 of the Constitution has the broadest interpretation. This Article has been subjected to numerous interpretations by the courts. Article 21 states that no one shall be deprived of his life or liberty except in accordance with the law. This Article includes the right to privacy as part of its broad scope. The right to privacy is also known as the “right to be alone.” Our
country’s Supreme Court has issued a number of judicial decisions on the subject. In the landmark case of Kharak Singh v the State of UP, the phrase “right to be left alone” was coined.
About a decade later, in the case of Govind v State of MP, Justice Mathews stated through the Court that the right to privacy would have to go through the process of case-by-case development. The concept was expanded upon and deliberated upon in the case of R Rajagopalan v State of Tamil Nadu, in which the court stated that the right to privacy is an implicit right guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution. The Court also stated that an individual has the right to privacy, including the privacy of his family marriage, childbearing, procreation, and education, among other things, and that no one has the right to publish any details about these things without his or her consent. It becomes very evident that the courts uphold a person’s right to privacy. The significance of this right is further demonstrated by the fact that it is covered by Article 21 of our Constitution, which, in accordance with the Courts’ interpretation, is one of its most significant provisions and cannot be suspended even in the event of a serious emergency. Here are some Important judgements regarding Right to Privacy in India… A.K. Gopalan v. State (1950) In this case, the petitioner claimed that the search and seizure operation conducted on his property violated Article 19’s provision on the Right to Property . However, the court rejected the right to privacy argument, stating that the police action did not interfere with his right to use his property. The court also mentioned the ‘reasonable cause’ caveat, which gives police the authority to search and seize. Kharak Singh v. The State of Uttar Pradesh In this case, the petitioner contended that the police’s nightly domiciliary visit to his home violated his right to freely move across India, as guaranteed by Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. The petitioner also took issue with the police following him around. While the court agreed that the petitioner’s right to live a dignified and free life was violated by the nightly domiciliary visits, it also agreed that the right to privacy was not a fundamental right, and thus surveillance of his movements did not violate the Constitution. these two cases are mentioned because they were the first times the Supreme Court discussed the concept of the Right to Privacy. There was also a supreme court that up held the right to privacy with the context of article 21 was – Union of India vs. Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) (2017)
The Most important case with respect to Right To Privacy ……….The Supreme Court of India unanimously agreed during the hearing of a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhar-based biometric system that the right to privacy is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution. The right to life and liberty, as expressed in Article 21, was understood by the court to encompass the right to privacy. Because the right to privacy is covered by Article 21 of Part III of the Indian Constitution, which is dedicated to fundamental rights, it was declared by the court to be such as a result of the ruling. Since that time, India has recognised the right to privacy as a fundamental human right. CONCLUSION- In conclusion, it can be claimed that Indian law has advanced in its treatment of the right to privacy, and that including it in Article 21’s purview was a much-needed development. We couldn’t have asked more of the Supreme Court in this modern age where data privacy has become such a major concern. The Puttaswamy decision expressly noted that the right to privacy has many sides and should be honoured in all circumstances, including those that are commercial, marital, and political. The right to privacy of a person should be respected in all circumstances because it has many facets.
There have been many arguments throughout the years contending that because the right to privacy is not a basic right, it is subject to limitations and must be constrained by the State. But the main point of contention is right here. For instance, in the case of Aadhaar, where the government claimed that the data was being collected in the interest of the state, the debate centred on the question of how the data was being used. Judges in other states, besides just India, have connected the right to privacy with one of the fundamental characteristics of people. We could see that India’s right to privacy was evolving slowly and steadily. This was evident in incidents involving MP Sharma, Kharak Singh, and MR X, among others. We had travelled a great distance from Hospital Z to Puttaswamy. Whereas the right to life was once thought to represent a purely animal existence, it is now understood to encompass all fundamental needs for survival, including the right to privacy. Being a part of the world implies that we have the same rights as everyone else and that we should be treated with respect. Therefore, it may be argued that everyone should be able to enjoy the specific form of privilege that is privacy. However, we must be careful not to invade another person’s privacy when using this right. We can only coexist peacefully if we respect each other’s rights on an equal basis.
7. Article 21 of Indian Constitution.