Right to privacy

What does right to privacy include?

The right to privacy is also recognized as a basic human rights under Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Act, 1948, which state as follows: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attack upon his honor and reputation.

Which was the first case of right to privacy in India?

The first case to lay down the basics of right to privacy in India, was the case of Kharak Singh v. State of UP.

What are the exceptions to right to privacy?

The judges enumerated some exceptions to the law of privacy. The first exception is national security. The second exception is detection and prevention of crime. And the third exception is distribution of socio-economic benefits.

Is privacy a fundamental right?

Privacy is a fundamental human right recognized in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in many other international and regional treaties. Privacy reinstates the human dignity and other key values such as freedom of association and freedom of speech. Two international conventions are of particular importance in terms of privacy rights. These include Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Supreme Court held in R. Rajagopal v. State of Tamil Nadu, that the right to privacy is a fundamental right enforceable against state.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

The article 12 of UDHR provides that –

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, or to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Article 17 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (to which India is a party) states “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home and correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honor and reputation”.

India and international conventions

India has ratified both the above conventions – which means State has to enact laws to ensure that citizens are protected from unwarranted intrusion into their privacy.

Right to Privacy as Fundamental Right

Right to privacy was earlier recognized as “implicit” in the right to life and liberty – guaranteed by Article 21 of the constitution. However, implicit rights have been subject to judicial scrutiny time and again.

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