Day 2 Arguments (Meenakshi Arora)

Fundamental Right to Privacy

Day 2 of Arguments on 20th July 2017

Ms. Meenakshi Arora began by surveying the case law over the years to show that such a right had already been recognized. She pointed out that Kharak Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh (1962) implicitly recognized the right to privacy when it relied on Wolf v Colorado (1949) to strike down Regulation 236(b) of the U.P. Police Regulations. The stray sentence in Kharak Singh relied on by the State to deny the privacy right was obiter and not binding precedent. Moreover, subsequent decisions like R. Rajagopal v State of Tamil Nadu (1994) and P.U.C.L. v Union of India (1996) confirm this reading of Kharak Singh.

Ms. Arora expressed alarm that in the absence of a privacy right data on digital platforms could be used for purposes other than those initially specified without obtaining consent. She stressed that the privacy right entails equality and non-discrimination protection as well as enhances liberty and dignity. It emerges from Articles 14, 19 or 21 and extends to Articles 17, 24 or 25 wherein a person cannot be compelled to specify his caste. She traced the post-Second World War German constitutional history of the right to privacy to urge the court to recognize the right to privacy as a fundamental right without restriction and then develop it on a case to case basis.


(Ms. Meenakshi Arora, Sr. Advocate is appearing for the Petitioners in (Transfer Case (Civil) No. 152 of 2013), Vickram Crishna and Others v UIDAI and Others  which has been tagged with this matter.)


(This post relies on contributions from Ms. Nidhi Khanna)