The concept of Right to Privacy cannot be captured entirely in words. Therefore, it can be considered as an important aspect of our life. Nowadays, privacy has become the concern of every individual due to advancement in technology and also emphasize for protection of data. The Right to Privacy is protected under Article 21 of our constitution and consider it as an important ingredient in human dignity. Right to privacy give emphasis to individual liberty and this individual liberty is under threat by the interference of strangers. As India is developing it requires some time in the effectiveness of the implementation of the new area of law. The paper would like to specifically focus on the Right to Privacy and its impact on the citizens of Modern India.


Right to Privacy refers to the protection of individual personal information from being published or unwanted interference by others without permission. Privacy is a human right which is enjoyed by every person by virtue of his or her right. Right to Privacy has been covered under Article 21 protection of life and personal liberty of our Indian Constitution. Every human has some sensitive and credulous part of their life which can’t be disclosed at public domain. Privacy is one of the important pillar and fundamental right which is enshrined in many international treaties. It is important for the protection of human dignity as it supports the rights of self and others. From privacy, one mean that the things which one does not want to share or does not want anyone to interfere in his/her matters unless at his own will.. Privacy has a greater extent that means it includes physical integrity, individual autonomy, freedom of speech, or to movement. This means that privacy is not only about the body, but it extends to integrity, personal autonomy, data, consent, speech, movements, thoughts and reputation. It is a neutral relation between an individual, group and an individual who is not subject to interference or invasion of personal freedom. All modern societies has recognized privacy as essential from humanitarian view as well as from legal point of view.

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, “right to be let alone; the right of a person to be free from any unwarranted publicity; the right to live without any unwarranted interference by the public in matters with which the public is not necessarily concerned”. The right to privacy was not formally introduced as a fundamental right. It came into light in Kharak Singh v The State of U.P (1962) when the issue related to the surveillance of suspects arised.


The evolution of Right to Privacy in India has been a slow and gradual process. Here are some key landmark judgements in the history of the Right to Privacy in India:

M.P. Sharma v. Satish Chandra (1954), an 8 judge bench of the Supreme Court held that for the security of the state, state was provided with overriding powers of search and seizure. They also held that there is no such concept of Right to Privacy in the Indian Constitution.

In Kharak Singh v. State of U.P, the victim filed a writ petition in Supreme Court to challenge validity of the surveillance and  police regulation on him. He argued that these all restrictions are violating my Right to movement and Right to personal life and liberty. A six-judge bench while announcing their judgement declare Domiciliary visits as unconstitutional, but held every other regulation as valid. Court said that the Right to Privacy is not guaranteed under Indian Constitution and also held that Right to Movement under Article 19 (1)(d) infringes only with Physical Restriction. Justice Subba Rao Gave his dissenting Judgement and said that “Anybody can Enjoy Freedom of Movement at anywhere for Personal Purposes. If the movement is been tracked or been monitored everytime then How free is it?” 

In PUCL v. Union of India commonly known as wire tapping case, a PIL was filed and asked for the clarity on the wire tapping and phone tapping laws and the protections to the same. In this case, Section 5(2) of The Indian Telegraph Act was challenged which gives the government power to phone tapping and interception for public safety and emergency. Supreme court issues some guidelines and clarifications related to phone tapping which are as follows:-

  1. The Right to Privacy will be covered under the purview of Right to Personal life and liberty .i.e. Article 21.
  2. Telephonic Conversation will come under Right to Privacy as they are of Confidential and intimidate nature. 

All these guidelines were incorporated and codified under Rule 419(A) of Indian Telegraph Rules. Now Phone Tapping will only be authorized either by Union Home Secretary or State Home Secretary under unavoidable circumstances only.

In Gobind v. State of Madhya Pradesh, the Supreme Court held that Right to privacy comes under Article 21 of our Indian Constitution and also held that the same includes right to be left, right to be free from unwanted publicity and right to lead a peaceful as well as dignified life.

R. Rajagopal v. State of Tamil Nadu, the court held that right to privacy includes right to one’s reputation and it is subject to certain circumstances such as in the interest of national security or public order.

Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. U.O.I, in this case on August 2017, 9Judge-bench of The Supreme Court delivered a unanimous decision and held that Indian Citizens do have a Right to Privacy supported by Article 21. Supreme Court also held that there is no need of a separate declaration for Right to Privacy as the same is sufficiently protected under Article 14, 19 an 21.

In Vineet Kumar’s Case, the phone tapping of the bank employees were challenged as it is the violation of their Right to Privacy. Bombay High Court held that Phone tapping is permitted in the requirement of  Public Emergency and Safety under Section 5(2) of Indian Telegraph Act and the threshold of this requirement is very high, therefore the trivial economic offences cannot match this threshold. Therefore, in this case, phone tapping is illegal even in the charge of economic offence and there would be an infringement of Right to Privacy.

These cases have helped in shaping the Right to Privacy in India. Partly because of these, Right to Privacy has established as a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution. The evolution of Right to Privacy as a fundamental right has been a long and complex journey alongwith many legal and social developments.


It ensure the dignity of an individual mentioned in our Preamble. It helps to avoid unwanted and intrusive interference in an individual’s personal affairs. Right to liberty and right to freedom of speech and expression cannot be survived if the Right to Privacy is compromised. Mr. Nandan Nilakeni mentions, “We need a larger privacy bill, not just for Aadhaar but also for many things like privacy in telephonic communication and other areas. Article 12 of Universal Declaration on Human Rights and Article 17 of the  International Convent on Civil and Political Rights provide some provisions for the Right to Privacy. 


It can hinder the implementation and performance of welfare schemes like Aadhar and Direct Benefits Transfer which needs personal data of citizens. Right to Privacy also restricts police and intelligence agencies to collect private information about accused, dead persons, criminals etc.


As far as Right to Privacy is concerned, government has enacted two important bills, one is Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 which provides the protection to individuals’ privacy in relation to their personal data and has established a Data Protection Authority of India based on the recommendation of B N Srikrishna’s committee (2018) deals with matters relating to an individual’s privacy relating to their personal data. Another Law is Information Technology Act, 2000 , an important piece of legislation which governs electronic transactions and communication and provides protection against data breaching involving computer systems. It includes measures to prevent unwanted access to computers, computer systems, and data stored on them. This Act offers a defence  against some digital and computer system breaches. The act was enacted with the goal of regulating the digital signatures and electronic communication and providing legal recognition to transactions.

Parliament and the Supreme Court should devise a method for balancing the competing rights to privacy and freedom of expression. In this digital era, data is a precious resource that should not be left unregulated and unorganized. In this sense, India’s time for a strong data protection regime has arrived.


The most basic obligation of government is to protect its citizens’ rights, to address concerns about data safety, protection from unauthorized interception, surveillance, use of personal identity. The data controller should put all data in an organized and in transparent manner. The government should also provide internal procedural safeguards alongwith independent external monitoring for the protection of rights. There needs to be active education system that makes an individual aware of their choices. The government is required start with aligning its technology laws with the evolving internet landscape.


Rights regarding Privacy are essential elements of life and personal freedom rights enshrined under Article 21. Although they are not absolute rights as they are subject to rational limitations for the protection of crimes, human rights, morality, values. The Right to life was considered to not to be the embodiement of mere animal existence, but the guarantee of a full and meaningful life. When there is a conflict between these two derived rights, the one will prevail which advances public morality and public interest. By considering ourselves as a part of the society we usually demand that we are individuals first and we need private space. So in order to give each individual that right, the state is accordingly giving those private moments to be enjoyed with those whom they want without the prying eyes of the rest of the world. Privacy should be safeguarded in every aspect but it is subjected to reasonable restrictions under certain provisions of Constitution of India and other relevant statutory provisions in force. One needs to understand that privacy should be keep in mind and within confined limits but not to explain to rest of the world. 

  • References

[1] Black’s law Dictionary (11th edition 2019)

[2] M.P.Sharma vs Satish Chandra, District 1954 AIR 300, SCR 1077

[3] Kharak Singh vs State of U.P. 1964 AIR 1295, SCR 332

[4] PUCL vs Union of India AIR 1997 SC 568

[5] Gobind v. State of Madhya Pradesh 1975 AIR 1378

[6] R. Rajagopal v. State of Tamil Nadu 1994 SCC (6) 632 

[7] Justice K.S.Puttaswamy (Retd) vs Union of India 2017

[9] Manupatra, India kanoon, SCC Online


Author:- Dolly Singh Gehlot, a Student of BM Law College 


Implementation of Vocational Education in India


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