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Journey of right to privacy in India

 According to Black law�s dictionary, Privacy is a right guaranteed to every human being which determines that there will not be any kind of intervention/ interference in order to ensure the protection of individual's information.

It has to ensure that there will not be following kinds of surveillance in order to violate individual's right to privacy:


An imposition whereby another individual is restricted from experiencing an individual or a situation.



The imposition of a restriction that is exclusive to an entity.



The prevention of searching for unknown information and



The prevention of attempts made to get to know the state of mind of an individual.[1]

Right to Privacy is a right to be let alone. Right to Privacy is a part of Article 21 of the Constitution of India i.e. Right to Life and Personal Liberty.

Judicial Journey of Right to Privacy in India

Kharak Singh vs. State of UP [AIR1963SC1295]

In this case Kharak Singh was involved in Dacoity but acquitted because of lack of evidence. Police used to check his house at any time and followed his every movement to gather information and evidence. He challenged that this surveillance is against the fundamental rights. Article 19(1)(d) i.e. Right to move freely in the territory of India and Article 21 i.e. Right to life and personal liberty of the Constitution was challenged.

Court rejected that privacy can be challenged under Article 21 and observed that Article 21 examines the procedure established by law in regard to deprivation of life and liberty. Taking the view of RM Malkhani case it was said that the right of an innocent person will be protected like telephone tapping but not of a guilty person where police are taking efforts to safeguard the citizen even if the police is doing it by the unlawful method.[2]


R M Malkani vs. State of Maharashtra[ (1973)1SCC471]

In this case, Court said that the when one person is allowing another person to record his call, then we cannot say he will damage or tamper the information or it is an act of coercion when he attaches a tape recorder to his telephone. Therefore it was held that Section 25 of the Indian Telegraph Act,1885.

Gobind vs. State of Madhya Pradesh[(1975)2SCC148]

In the case, Regulation 855 and 856 of UP State Police Regulations was in question where history sheet(any a record like the private record, criminal, medical record of a personal record of a person) was opened when the petitioner was in surveillance. The 3 judge bench favoured the judgement of Kharak Singh and validated Police regulation except visiting in the night.

During this case, law in the US had evolved and the Court took the reference of the case Griswold vs. Connecticut where the advice or information related to contraceptive methods was given to the married person and it was held invalid. In the case Jane Roe vs. Henry Wade, the court said that the right to abort a child by married women is a part of the right of personal privacy.


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