A very fascinating development in the Indian Constitutional jurisprudence is the extended dimension given to Article 21 by the Supreme Court in post-Maneka era. The Supreme Court has asserted that Art. 21 is the heart of the Fundamental Rights. Article 21 has proved to be multi-dimensional. The extension in the dimensions of Art.21 has been made possible by giving a extended meaning to the word ‘life’ and ‘liberty’ in Article 21. These two words in Art.21 are not to be read narrowly. These are organic terms which are to be construed meaningfully.
The Supreme Court has asserted that in order to treat a right as a fundamental right, it is not necessary that it should be expressly stated in the constitution as a Fundamental Right. Political, social, and economic changes in the country entail the recognition of new rights. The law in its eternal youth grows to meet the demands of society.
Right to privacy is one such right which has come to its existence after widening up the dimensions of Article 21. The constitution in specific doesn’t grant any right to privacy as such. However, such a right has been culled by the Supreme Court from Art. 21 and several other provisions of the constitution read with the Directive Principles of State Policy. In this paper we will be discussing over a new dimension of Art. 21 that is the Right to Privacy and also the conflicts related to it.
Before we get into a complete discussion of Right to Privacy first of all we need to know what does the word Privacy mean. 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”.
Article 21 of the Constitution of India states that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”. After reading the Article 21, it has been interpreted that the term ‘life’ includes all those aspects of life which go to make a man’s life meaningful, complete and worth living.
Like everything mankind has ever achieved, there has been a positive and a negative side to it. Technology has invaded every part of our lives whether the invasion was desired or not, we cannot be sure whether what we say has been heard by a third party as well whether that was desired or not. The proverbial Hindi saying of even walls having ears has never rung truer. The principle of the world today can be: whatever you may do, the world will get to know before you realize, ask a certain Tiger Woods about it.
In the earlier times in India, the law would give protection only from physical dangers such as trespass from which the Right to Property emerged to secure his house and cattle. This was considered to be the Right to Life. As the ever changing common law grew to accommodate the problems faced by the people, it was realized that not only was physical security required, but also security of the spiritual self as well as of his feelings, intellect was required. Now the Right to Life has expanded in its scope and comprises the right to be let alone the right to liberty secures the exercise of extensive civil privileges; and the term “property” has grown to comprise every form of possession — intangible, as well as tangible.
The strategy adopted by the Supreme Court with a view to expand the ambit of Art. 21 and to imply certain right there from, has been to interpret Art.21 along with international charters on Human Rights.
The Court has implied the right of privacy from Art.21 by interpreting it in conformity with Art.12 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and Art.17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966. Both of these international documents provide for the right of privacy.
Right to privacy is not...