Privacy is a fundamental right: Here's what the Supreme Court bench said while giving its verdict

The nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court, which determined that privacy is a Fundamental Right, said that the case presented challenges for constitutional interpretation. Thursday's judgment was delivered by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, who ruled that "right to privacy is an intrinsic part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty" under Article 21 and entire Part III of the Constitution.

Other members of the bench in Thurday's judgment were Justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde, RK Agrawal, RF Nariman, AM Sapre, DY Chandrachud, S Abdul Nazeer and SK Kaul. The bench unanimously said that privacy allows each human being to be left alone, which is inviolable. Here's what each judge said while delivering the verdict:

privacy

J Chelameswar

Chelameswar said that the verdict in the MP Sharma case did not examine whether Right to Privacy is implied in any other Fundamental Right guaranteed under the Constitution. Therefore, he disregarded the ruling in the earlier case, suggesting that the earlier case wasn't an authority in determining if the Right to Privacy was enshrined in the Constitution. He also said that he believes the majority view, that the right to privacy is not guaranteed under our Constitution, is illogical.

He gave the example of the "right to go abroad" and the "right to speedy trial of criminal cases", which were read into Article 21 of the Constitution but cannot be found in the exact text of the Constitution. "I don't think that anybody in the country would like to have the officers of the State intruding into their homes or private properties without their consent," he added.

SA Bobde

Bobde also argiued that the verdict in the MP Sharma case is unconvincing because it was arrived at without an enquiry into whether Right to Privacy could exist in our Constitution. He added that privacy is both a common law as well as a Fundamental Right.

Privacy, he said, is the condition arrived at after excluding other persons and is a prerequisite for exercising liberty and freedom to perform activities.

He concluded by saying that the right to claim a basic condition like privacy in which guaranteed fundamental rights can be exercised must be regarded as a fundamental right.

File image of JS Khehar. PTI

File image of JS Khehar. PTI

AM Sapre

Sapre said that unity and integrity of the nation cannot survive unless dignity of every individual citizen is guaranteed. Therefore, he said, it is the duty of the courts to strike a balance between the changing needs of society and the protection of the rights of the citizens.

It was not possible for the framers of the Constitution to incorporate each and every right and the Constitution is susceptible to appropriate interpretation of its provisions, he added.

In his opinion, he said, Right to Privacy is essentially a natural right, which every human being inherited by birth. "Such right remains with the human being till s/he breathes his/her last," he added.

Although the Right to Privacy is not defined in law, the courts have assigned meaning to this in context of specific cases.

In his view, he said, it's as much a Fundamental Right guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution.

Sanjay Kishan Kaul

Kaul said that privacy is an inherent right, and if it wasn't given, it was because it already existed. It also said there should exist limits on the government's power, as well as the power of private sector entities.

There is no justification for making all information available to the public, he said. Let the Right of Privacy, an inherent right, be unequivocally a Fundamental Right embedded in Part III of the Constitution, but subject to restrictions, he concluded.

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Published Date: Aug 24, 2017 05:37 pm | Updated Date: Aug 24, 2017 05:37 pm


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