RIGHT TO PRIVACY- a constitutional right

       RIGHT TO PRIVACY- a constitutional right



Right to privacy is a fundamental human right which protects an individual private right from the unfair practices taken place by government or any other individual. Privacy is not only depends on the personal rights and information but it also extends to an individual’s integrity, dignity, personal autonomy, confidentiality and protection from the state surveillance. In short, right to privacy depends on case to case circumstances. Article 12 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 and Article 17 of International covenant on Civil and Political, 1966, both the articles legally protect each and every person from any kind of “arbitrary interference” in anyone’s privacy, home, honor and reputation.

In Puttaswamy v. Union of India case, 2017, the Supreme Court declared the Right to Privacy a fundamental right.

Article 21 of Indian Constitution provides “Protection of life and personal liberty” i.e. No citizen or non- citizen shall be deprived from his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.

“Procedure established by law” – It means that a law that is duly enacted by the legislature or the body in question is valid if the procedure to establish has been correctly followed, which was followed by our Indian Constitution.

 Unlike, American Constitution follows “Due Process of Law” which gives the wide scope to the courts to check whether any law in question is fair, not arbitrary and grant protection to the rights of its citizens.

A rigid and non-flexible following of the procedure established by law by Indian Constitution may raise the risk of compromise to life and personal liberty of individuals due to unjust laws making authorities, which happened in the case of “AK Gopalan v. St. of Madras (1950).

AK Gopalan v. State of Madras, AIR 1950 SC 27 was a landmark decision of Supreme Court of India in which the Court ruled that Article 21 of the Constitution would not work alongside with the concept of Due Process of Law in India and the Supreme Court of India has been stuck to the point of view of following the same Process established by law without keeping a check on Article 14 of Indian Constitution and passed the judgment.  

“Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India case overruled the judgment of “A.K. Gopalan v. Madras State”

Maneka Gandhi case overruled the judgment of AK Gopalan case with the 7 judges bench who gave the concept and relationship of Article 14, 19, and 21 which is known as “Golden triangle” or “Trinity” by stated that no one’s personal liberty and privacy must not be violated by any of them. 


Right to live with human dignity- In the case of “Joseph Shine v. Union of India, Supreme Court held that offence of adultery is unconstitutional (According to Sec. 497 of IPC) i.e. it violates women’s right to live with dignity and hence it infringe Article 21 of Indian Constitution. 

Right to Self-determination of gender- Self-determination of gender is a fundamental right as it is an integral part of personal liberty, autonomy, and self-expression by Transgender and Hijras. This was stated in the case “National Legal Service Authority (NLSA) v. UOI (2014).

Note: Right to life does not include Right to die stated in the case of “Gian kaur v. State of Punjab” although passive euthanasia is allowed with some guidelines stated in the case named “Aruna Ram Chandra Shan burgh v. UOI.   

Author:- Vanshita Agarwal, a Student of Agra College, Agra

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