The Supreme Court Has Ruled On The Right To Privacy Twice Before; Here’s What It Said

The Logical Indian Crew

July 20th, 2017 / 9:46 AM

Right to Privacy

Courtesy: India Kanoon | Image Credit: Thinkpedia

The Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments to rule on whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution to all Indian citizens. The verdict will be divulged any day now, and it will surely be a crucial one – not only because privacy has become a primary debate in the Digital Age but also because of the intrinsic links between privacy and the government’s push to increase the mandate of Aadhaar and UIDAI.

The right to privacy finds no mention in the Constitution. This right, however, has been inferred from Article 19 and Article 21. Besides these Articles, the right has been culled from various court judgements over the years.

As for the question of whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right, the Supreme Court ruled against this proposition on two main occasions – in 1954 and in 1962:

The understanding of the above-mentioned judgements is important to understand the ongoing debate in the SC. On 19 July 2017, the SC said, “During the course of the hearing today, it seems that it has become essential for us to determine whether there is any fundamental right of privacy under the Indian Constitution … The determination of this question will essentially entail whether the decision recorded by this court in M P Sharma and Ors vs. Satish Chandra, District Magistrate, Delhi and Ors. (of 1950) by an eight-judge Constitution bench, and also, in Kharak Singh vs. the State of UP and Ors. (of 1962) by a six-judge Constitution bench, that there is no such fundamental right, is the correct expression of the constitutional position.”


MP Sharma and Ors vs Satish Chandra (1954)

MP Sharma and Ors vs Satish Chandra relates to an incident of search and seizure of documents of Dalmia Company following an investigation into corrupt malpractices within the company.

Police registered an FIR on 19 November 1953, and a request was made to the District Magistrate, Delhi, for search warrants. The DM issued the warrants and searches were carried out at 34 places belonging to the Dalmia group.

In their petitions under Article 32 (and adding that the searches violated Article 19 and Article 20(3)) before the Supreme Court, the company claimed the searches were unconstitutional and said their private records were taken away.

However, the court observed, “A search and seizure is, therefore, only a temporary interference with the right to hold the premises searched and the articles seized. Statutory regulation in this behalf is necessary and reasonable restriction cannot per se be considered to be unconstitutional. The damage, if any caused by such temporary interference if found to be in excess of legal authority is a matter for redress in other proceedings.”

The court further said, “… Fundamental right to privacy, analogous to the American Fourth Amendment, we have no justification to import it, into a totally different fundamental right.”


Kharak Singh vs the State of UP (1962)

Kharak Singh vs the State of UP revolved around a man released from prison due to lack of sufficient evidence in a dacoity case. The police later opened a “history sheet” against him and also put the man under surveillance. The man duly approached the court, saying the surveillance was unconstitutional and violated his fundamental rights

The apex court observed, “The right of privacy is not a guaranteed right under our Constitution and therefore the attempt to ascertain the movements of an individual which is merely a manner in which privacy is invaded is not an infringement of a fundamental right guaranteed by Part III.”

Other relevant cases under the right to privacy debate include


Contributors

Written by :

Edited by :

Related Stories

Kerala Highcourt Right to Education Privacy

Accessing Internet Is Part Of Right To Education, Right To Privacy: Kerala HC

Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Plea On Women’s Full Right To Abort Pregnancy At Any Stage

Witness Protection Scheme

Step In Right Direction: Supreme Court Approves Witness Protection Scheme, 2018

Public Has Right To Know; Supreme Court To Live Stream Court Proceedings

Supreme Court Judgements RTI

Supreme Court Judgments On Right To Information Act 2005: An Analysis By Former CIC Chairman

court

Failed By Bihar Board Twice, Class 10 Student Goes To Court, Gets Rs 5 Lakh Compensation

Latest on The Logical Indian

News

Over 1500 Migratory Birds Found Dead Around Sambhar Lake, Botulism Suspected To Be The Cause

News

‘Lord Ram Is Ancestor Of All’ Says Shia Waqf Board Chairman, Donates Rs 51000 For Temple In Ayodhya

News

‘Economy Doing Fine’, Airports Are Full, People Are Getting Married: Union Minister, Suresh Angadi

My Story

My Story: “I Lost My Father To A Brutal Murder On November 18, 2017. A Part Of Me Died With Him”

Legal

‘Mere Registration Is No Proof Of Marriage’: SC Rules

My Social Responsibility

Educating Cab Drivers On Necessary Matters Related To Banks, This Woman Entrepreneur Is Making Them Financially Literate

x

Stories that deserve attention, delivered to your inbox!

Handpicked, newsworthy stories which deserve the attention of a rational generation.