Comprehensive study of Develpoment of right to privacy in India with special reference to constitutional provisions
Shrikant P Thombre
Privacy can be defined as a fundamental (though not an absolute) human right. The law of privacy can be traced as far back as 1361, when the Justices of the Peace Act in England provided for the arrest of peeping toms and eavesdroppers. In 1765, British Lord Camden, striking down a warrant to enter a house and seize papers wrote, "We can safely say there is no law in this country to justify the defendants in what they have done; if there was, it would destroy all the comforts of society, for papers are often the dearest property any man can have." Parliamentarian William Pitt wrote, "The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the Crown. It may be frail; its roof may shake; the wind may blow though it; the storms may enter; the rain may enter -- but the King of England cannot enter; all his forces dare not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement." Various countries developed specific protections for privacy in the centuries that followed. In 1776, the Swedish Parliament enacted the "Access to Public Records Act" which required that all government-held information be used for legitimate purposes. In 1792, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen declared that private property is inviolable and sacred. France prohibited the publication of private facts and set stiff fines in 1858. In 1890, American lawyers Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis wrote a seminal piece on the right to privacy as a tort action describing privacy as "the right to be left alone.” The modern privacy benchmark at an international level can be found in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “Privacy” is one of the most nebulous terms our society has ever chanced upon. In the recent years, there have been debates on Right to Privacy, its safeguards, reasonable restrictions against this right, various positions and non-recognition of this right by some courts, and the ongoing debate on the existence of a constitutional Right to Privacy. A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar, ruled on August 24, 2017 that the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right for Indian citizens under the Constitution of India (mostly under Article 21 and additionally under Part III rights). India is the world’s biggest democracy and with this ruling, it has joined United States, Canada, South Africa, the European Union and the UK in recognizing this fundamental right.
Shrikant P Thombre. Comprehensive study of Develpoment of right to privacy in India with special reference to constitutional provisions. International Journal of Law, Volume 5, Issue 6, 2019, Pages 117-122