Fight Between Right to Privacy and Right to Know

Topics: Sexually transmitted disease, Law, Human rights Pages: 5 (1807 words) Published: August 26, 2010
Rights to Privacy
In most of the common law constitutions, right to privacy is not given expressly to their citizens, but derived from judicial review and court decisions. The term “privacy” has been described as “the rightful claim of the individual to determine the extent to which he wishes to share of 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 fit. It also means the individuals right to control dissemination of information about himself; it is his own personal possession.” Privacy has also been defined as a Zero-relationship between two or more persons in the sense that there is no interaction or communication between them, if they choose. Numerous legal and moral philosophers have suggested that privacy is valued because it satisfies a number of primacy human needs. The Right to Privacy in India

The right to privacy in India has derived itself from essentially two sources: the common law of torts and the constitutional law in common law, a private action for damages for unlawful invasion of privacy is maintainable. The printer and publisher of a journal, magazine or book are liable in damages if they publish any matter concerning the private life of the individual without such person’s consent. There are 2 exceptions to this rule: First, that the right to privacy does not survive once the publication relates to the discharge of the official duties of a public servant, an action is not maintainable unless the publication is proved to be false, malicious or in reckless disregard for truth.

In India, the Constitution does not expressly recognize the right to privacy. The concept of privacy as a fundamental right first evolved in 1964 in the case of Kharak Singh Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh. The Supreme Court, for the first time, recognized that there is a right of privacy implicit in the Indian Constitution U/Article 21. The Court held that the Right to Privacy is an integral part of the Right to Life, but without any clear cut laws, it still remains in the grey area.

An encroachment upon one’s privacy is only shielded if the offender is the state and not a private entity. If the offender is a private individual then there is no effective remedy except in tort where one can claim damages for intruding in his privacy and no more. In R. Rajagopal Vs. State of Tamil Nadu (1994), the Supreme Court held that the right to privacy is a right to be let alone. None can publish anything concerning the above matters without his consent, whether truthful or otherwise. If he does so, he would be violating the right to privacy of the person concerned and would be liable in an action for damages. Privacy and Sexually transmitted Diseases (STD)

Fight between Civil Rights – Right to Privacy is the right to be let alone but no right is absolute. Every personal right has its own limitation for public safety and national security. There must be some checks and balances.

At least since their appearance in Western Europe in the late 15th Century, STDs, or venereal diseases as they were once called, have been characterized by a remarkable paradox. Despite their endemic nature in Europe and North America, STDs were and still are a Secret Malady. Persons have endeavored to keep their sexually transmitted infections hidden from the social world from their sexual partners, families and communities. At the same time, prevailing social mores have kept STDs from the public consciousness and consequently have prevented STDs from receiving public action and effective intervention. The most venerable position in STDs is of life partner of infected person. From its origins in the practice to control the disease, partner notification has been motivated by the moral imperative to notify and to protect persons who are unaware of their risk of STD exposure. Infected persons...
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