Human Rights and Right of Privacy

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HUMAN RIGHTS AND RIGHT OF PRIVACY

Prasanta Kumar Dey

“Civilization is the progress towards a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public ruled by law of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men” - Ayn Rand : The Fountain head, 1943.

The idea of privacy is as old as Bibalical notion of creation of progenies on earth. Even Adam and Eve tried to hide their nudity with leaves. Privacy is vital to the mental spiritual and physical well being of all individuals and also to the morality and personality of individual . It is necessary for a secure relationship between individual and individual whether it is between man and wife, son and father or a friend and friend. In other words it concretizes interpersonal relationships of love, friendship and trust .

Human Rights are such rights which are available to every person because he is a human being. Whatever may be his nationality, sex, race, profession, social and economic status. The term ‘Human Rights’ denotes all those rights which are inherent in our nature and without which we can not live as human being . It is claimed that human rights being eternal part of the nature of human rights are essential for individuals to develop their personality, their human qualities, their intelligence, talent and conscience and to enable them to satisfy their spiritual and higher needs. As such they are called natural rights or basic rights and cover variety of rights including traditional civil and political rights on one hand and newly developed economic, social and cultural rights on the other. As they are shared by all men and women in the world, they are so called common rights. They are wider in approach than fundamental rights. The right to privacy has been recognized under Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 provides;

1.No one shall be substituted to arbitrary or unlawfull interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence not to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation. 2.Everyone has the right to the protection of law against such interference or attacks.

Further Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights has recognized and provided for the protection of this right of privacy. The Nordic Conference of Jurists and Legal Experts also emphasized that the right to privacy is paramount to the human happiness. Meaning of the concept of privacy:

“Privacy” means seclusion or solitude according to the Oxford Dictionary – it is the State of being private and undisturbed. It also means freedom from intrusion or public attention of avoidance of publicity. In Latin it is ‘Privatus’ which means withdrawn from public life. It may mean confidentiality not to be disclosed to others or kept away from public knowledge. The right of privacy means to do what on likes in his home without being seen by others.

The term ‘privacy’ has been described as “the rightful claim of the individual to determine the extent to which he wishes to share himself with others and his control over the time, place and circumstances to communicate with others. It means his right to withdraw or to participate as he sees feet. It also means the individual’s right to control dissemination of information about himself; it is his own personal possession . Definition :

Warren and Brandies observed thus:
That the individual shall have full protection in person and property is a principle as well as the common law, but it has been found necessary from time to time to define a new the exact nature and extent of such protection .

Warren and Brandies prophesied that definition of right to privacy could not be dogmatic because modern enterprise and invention would invade upon the individual privacy and subject him to mental pain and distress . This has become all the more true at the fag end of the century, where the...
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