'Other rights won't have vitality without right to privacy'

'Other rights won't have vitality without right to privacy'

'Other rights won't have vitality without right to privacy'
The Supreme Court was on Wednesday told that all other fundamental rights of citizens would be denuded of its vigour and vitality if there is no right to privacy.

A group of petitioners represented by senior advocates Gopal Subramanium, Soli J Sorabjee, Shyam Divan and Arvind P Datar submitted before a nine-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice J S Khehar that the ratio decidendi (the rationale for the decision) of the judgements in M P Sharma (1954) and Kharag Singh (1962) is not that the right to privacy is not part of fundamental rights as it was not the question before the court then.

‘Already compromised’
During the day-long hearing, the apex court at once observed that the citizens have already surrendered their right to privacy by putting their personal details in public realm with the use of technology.

However, the counsel submitted the Supreme Court over the last four decades has consistently recognised the right to privacy. Divan also cited 11-judge bench decision in cases relating to  R C Cooper, Maneka Gandhi and I R Coelho to buttress his arguments that the right to privacy was an inalienable fundamental right.

Divan questioned Attorney General K K Venugopal's submission that the right to privacy was not a fundamental right and could at best be called as common law right, saying it would be illusory since it may not provide the citizens' right to approach constitutional courts for remedy against its violation.

He said the right to privacy has been internationally recognised as fundamental human right under Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right, 1966, Article 8 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom (European Union),1950, Charter of Fundamental Rights of EU, 2012, among others. The United Nation General Assembly also passed a resolution appointing a special rapporteur on the right to privacy in 2015.

“In the absence of any domestic law to the contrary, India's obligations must be enforced,” Divan said. In his submission, Subramanium said the concept of privacy was embedded in liberty as well as honour of a person.


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