Is Privacy a legal right in India?

Privacy is an important concept in a Democratic society. The Indian Constitution does not expressly have a clause guaranteeing privacy. However, in 1963 in Kharak Singh v State of UP, the Supreme court held that Article 21 dealing with Personal Freedom (Protection of life and personal liberty) was broad enough to cover privacy as well. The two justices said that “Nothing is more deleterious to a man’s physical happiness and health, than a calculated interference with his privacy.

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WADA Privacy

In Govind vs State of MP, the Indian Supreme Court once more held that there was no doubt that the framers of the constitution wanted to “enforce” conditions favorable to the happiness of it’s citizens and that privacy was undeniably one precondition for happiness. The court ruled that the Right to Privacy in India is a fundamental right though it is not expressly named in the Constitution.

The most forceful ruling from the Supreme Court came in 1993 in R. Rajagopal vs State of Tamil Nadu. To quote the Justices: “The right to privacy is implicit in the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed to the citizens of this country by Article 21. It is a “right to be let alone.”

The legal basis for Privacy in India has evolved over a period of time and there is no doubt that the right to Privacy is heavily embedded in the Indian Constitution and in the legal subconscious environment of this country. It is every Indian’s birthright.

As mentioned earlier in the article on Privacy Laws in India, the Indian’s don’t take their privacy very seriously. But as more and more people improve their economic situation, they will start to demand the right to privacy that is guaranteed to them and the right to be free of surveillance without just cause.

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