Case Description

The Supreme Court held that a fundamental right to privacy is guaranteed under the Constitution of India.

Background

On 23rd August 2017, the Supreme Court unanimously recognised privacy as a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution:

 

In 2012, Justice K S Puttaswamy, a retired judge of the High Court, filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme introduced by the UPA Government.

 

On 11th August 2015, a Bench of three judges comprising Justices Chelameswar, Bobde, and C. Nagappan passed an order that a Bench of appropriate strength must examine the correctness of the decisions in M P Sharma v Satish Chandra, District Magistrate, Delhi, 1954 (8 Judge Bench) and Kharak Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh, 1964 (6 Judge Bench). In particular it ordered that the Court must decide whether we have a fundamental right to privacy.

 

This matter was first placed before a 5 Judge Bench headed by the then Chief Justice Khehar. Subsequently, the matter was referred to a 9 Judge Bench on 18th July 2017. The Bench comprised Chief Justice Khehar and Justices Jasti ChelameshwarS.A. BobdeDY ChandrachudAbdul NazeerNarimanR.K. AgarwalAbhay Manohar Sapre, and Sanjay Kishan Kaul. Arguments began on 19th July 2017 and concluded on 2nd August 2017.

 

In a historic decision delivered on 24th August 2017, the Bench unanimously recognised a fundamental right to privacy of every individual guaranteed by the Constitution, within Article 21 in particular and Part III on the whole. The decisions in M.P. Sharma and Kharak Singh were overruled.

 

Since the 2017 judgment, the fundamental right to privacy has been cited as precedent in various landmark judgments, such as the Navtej Johar and Joseph Shine judgments

Issues

3) Whether the right to privacy is an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.

1) Whether the decision in M P Sharma v Satish Chandra, District Magistrate, Delhi is correct in law?

2) Whether the decision in Kharak Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh is correct in law?

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