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In the “21st century, a government that cannot protect credibly maintain a democratic regime of equal treatment under the law”. This single statement speaks volumes about the importance of the word privacy holds in our current system of life and what our government owes in terms of keeping intact the privacy of citizens. This matter has taken new heights among the citizens’ concerns due to the dependency, evolution and use of number of means which could hamper our privacy very easily like Aadhar cards.


Now the issue of right to privacy was recently raised in Supreme Court of India in various cases and pleadings were made to make this right to be fundamental right, and honorary court gave their interpretation regarding this sensitive matter. This article throws light on the judicial interpretation given on right to privacy as a fundamental right. First and foremost we must know the meaning of Right to Privacy. There is no definition of right to privacy given in our law texts although Constitution of India encompasses Right to Privacy under Article 21, which is a requisite of right to life and personal liberty. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, Right to Privacy means a right to be let alone; the right of a person to be free from any unwarranted interference. Article 12 of The Universal Declaration of Human rights depicts that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Privacy can extend to other aspects, including body integrity, personal autonomy, informational self-determination, protection form self-surveillance, dignity, confidentiality, compelled speech and freedom to dissent or move or think. In short, it varies form case to case.


The Right of Privacy was first discussed in a constituent assembly where an amendment was moved by

(1) K.S. Karimuddin, where it got very little support and as a result did not get inclusion in our Constitution. Then our honorary courts gave landmarks judgments in which we can see scrutinize the evolution of interpretation they gave on whether Right of Privacy should be considered as Fundamental Right and there were some prominent landmark judgments in the resonance of this question.

First was (2) MP SHARMA v. SATISH CHANDRA, 1954 in which Privacy was not considered s fundamental right by an eight-judge bench as they held that the drafters of the constitution did not intend to subject the power of search and seizure to be a fundamental right of privacy.

Then after the long gap of ten years approximately this issue of right to privacy came back in Supreme Court to be rejected again in the landmark case of (3) KHARAK SINGH v. SATE OF U.P. 1962. The Right to Privacy was invoked in this case to challenge the surveillance of an accused person by the police. The six-judge bench held that right to privacy is not a fundamental right but only a statutory right.

Then in (4)1976, ADM JABALPUR v. SHIVAKANT SAHAY judgment was pronounced in which a five-member bench of the Supreme Court held that the liberty was a regulated freedom, and hence, not absolute in extraordinary circumstances.

In (5) GOVIND v. STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH privacy won for the first time and gained a small recognition under personal liberty under Indian Constitution.

Then landmark judgment of (6) JUSTICE K.S. PUTTASWAMY (Retd.) v. UNION OF INDIA, 2017 came in which Supreme Court unanimously recognized that the Constitution guaranteed the Right to Privacy as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21.

The Court, however, overruled MP Sharma and Kharak Singh in so far as the latter did not recognize the right of privacy as a Fundamental Right. We can also look on the other aspects of the Right of Privacy like Phone tapping, Gender priority or Power to Search.

In (7) RM MELKANI v. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA, Supreme Court observed that the Court will not tolerate safeguards for the protection of the citizen to be imperiled by permitting the police to proceed by unlawful methods. In another case, it was held that the doctor-patient relationship is confidential and publication of any information shared by the patient with the doctor may lead to the infringement of the Right of Privacy.


We can clearly conclude from the aforementioned judgments that meaning and importance of Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right evolved drastically and what is Right to Privacy varies from case to case. Honorary Courts of India gave various judicial interpretations and judgments which changed the facets of Right to Privacy. This Right is becoming more and more essential as every day is advancing. With all lives being exposed to media, the protection is to be given to everyone and in such a manner that no one should think to interfere with Right to Privacy of the individuals. 

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