Study Material | Test Series
Drishti IAS
call1800-121-6260 / 011-47532596
Drishti The Vision Foundation
(A unit of VDK Eduventures Pvt. Ltd.)
Q. Right to privacy recent debate: Should right to privacy be declared as fundamental right, especially in the present digital era?
Jul 20, 2017 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction- 
Recently, a nine-judge Supreme Court bench has been created to decide whether right to privacy is a fundamental right or not. Though the right to privacy is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution but Article 21 provides for various aspects of privacy. 

Analysis-

  • Giving constitutional status will grant greater respect and compliance. But the government has opposed this classification citing two SC judgments, delivered in 1954 and 1962 that rejected a “fundamental right to privacy”.  But these cases are related to curbing policing powers and are not as such related to the privacy debate in the present digital era. 
  • These two cases questioned search and seizure powers of police and surveillance on a suspected dacoit.  However, the present debate is not asking for absolute right to privacy and fundamental rights in the constitution are not absolute.  
  • But compared to other democracies India is far behind in respecting the privacy rights. Article 12 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which India is a signatory, states: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence.”
  • Similar to the granting the press freedom, SC has been once again called for declaring privacy right as fundamental right. The present digital era has been threatening our privacy rights from three levels, surveillance by governments, data mining by the corporates, and from criminals and hackers. Strong legal safeguards are needed against unauthorized access of databases and retention of data, data theft, and leak of private information. 
  • The giving impetus to the Aadhaar-based identification system for every aspect of a citizen’s life (for taking govt. entitlements, PAN card linkage, sim-card registration etc) is a valid cause for concern. 

Conclusion-
The issue of right to privacy is cause of concern, though it is not an absolute right, but access to individual details should be conditioned upon the national security. Hence, on prior permission from the concerned authority security agencies should be permitted to monitor communications of persons suspected of plotting acts of terror or any other acts which are threat to national security and territorial integrity. 


Helpline Number : 87501 87501
To Subscribe Newsletter and Get Updates.