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Right to privacy

Right to privacy
Highlights

The Supreme Court on July 18 referred to a nine-judge constitution bench the question whether right to privacy is a fundamental right on which hinges...

The Supreme Court on July 18 referred to a nine-judge constitution bench the question whether right to privacy is a fundamental right on which hinges the challenge to the validity of the Aadhaar scheme. The Fundamental Rights, as embedded in the Indian Constitution, ensure equal and fair treatment of the citizens before the law. However, these rights are not absolute and are subject to restrictions under peculiar circumstances.

Both in 1954 and 1962, the Supreme Court benches had held that privacy was a not a fundamental right. However, after the mid-1970s, benches of two and three -judges had consistently taken the position that privacy was a fundamental right. The issue whether privacy is a fundamental right is pivotal to the challenge to the validity of the Aadhaar scheme and touchstone of right to privacy.

Fundamental Rights are protected and Guaranteed by the Constitution and they cannot be taken away by an ordinary law enacted by the legislature. They are covered in Part III(Articles 12 to 35) of Indian constitution. If a legal right of a person is violated, he can move to an ordinary court, but if a fundamental right is violated the Constitution provides that the affected person may move to High court or Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court expressed in the past that to treat a right as a fundamental right, it was not necessary that it should be expressly stated so in the constitution. Political, social, and economic changes in the country entail the recognition of new rights. The law in its eternal youth grows to meet the demands of society, it had noted. The constitution in specific doesn’t grant any right to privacy as such.

However, such a right has been culled by the Supreme Court from Article 21 and several other provisions of the constitution read with the Directive Principles of State Policy. Article 21 of the Constitution of India states that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”

The Court has implied the right of privacy from Art.21 by interpreting it in conformity with Art.12 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and Art.17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966. Both of these international documents provide for the right of privacy, thus explains http://www.legalservicesindia.com.

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