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Right to Privacy: What the nine judges wrote

"This is not to suggest that solitude is always essential to privacy... A conglomeration of individuals in a space to which the rights of admission are reserved — as in a hotel or a cinema hall — must be regarded as private.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: August 25, 2017 7:33 am
right to privacy, right to privacy verdict, SC right to privacy, privacy judgment, supreme court privacy verdict, right to privacy verdict, fundamental right, supreme court, privacy in constitution, article 25, sc privacy verdict, right to privacy verdict, indian express news Right to privacy ruling: A nine-judge bench of the constitution bench unanimously held that right to privacy is a guaranteed fundamental right. (File)

CJI J S Khehar, Justices R K Agrawal, D Y Chandrachud, S A Nazeer

“We need also emphasise the lack of substance in the submission that privacy is a privilege for the few. Every individual irrespective of social class or economic status is entitled to the intimacy and autonomy which privacy protects. It is privacy as an intrinsic and core feature of life and personal liberty which enables an individual to stand up against a programme of forced sterilisation… It is privacy which is a powerful guarantee if the State were to introduce compulsory drug trials of non-consenting men or women. The sanctity of marriage, the liberty of procreation, the choice of a family life and the dignity of being are matters which concern every individual irrespective of social strata or economic well being. The pursuit of happiness is founded upon autonomy and dignity. Both are essential attributes of privacy which makes no distinction between the birth marks of individuals.”

Justice J Chelameswar

“Forced feeding of certain persons by the State raises concerns of privacy. An individual’s rights to refuse life-prolonging treatment or terminate his life is another freedom which fall within the zone of the right of privacy… A woman’s freedom of choice whether to bear a child or abort her pregnancy are areas which fall in the realm of privacy… The freedom to choose either to work or not and the freedom to choose the nature of the work are areas of private decision making process. The right to travel freely within the country or go abroad is an area… within the right of privacy.”

Justice S A Bobde

“… This is not to suggest that solitude is always essential to privacy… A conglomeration of individuals in a space to which the rights of admission are reserved — as in a hotel or a cinema hall — must be regarded as private. Nor is the right to privacy lost when a person moves about in public. The law requires a specific authorisation for search of a person even where there is suspicion. Privacy must also mean the effective guarantee of a zone of internal freedom in which to think. The disconcerting effect of having another peer over one’s shoulder while reading or writing explains why individuals would choose to retain their privacy even in public.”

Justice R F Nariman

“Taxation laws which require the furnishing of information certainly impinge upon the privacy of every individual… Indeed, most taxation laws which require the furnishing of such information also have, as a concomitant provision, provisions which prohibit the dissemination of such information to others except under specified circumstances… The same would be the case in relation to a census and details and documents required… for a passport.”

Justice A M Sapre

“… It is one of those cherished rights, which every civilized society governed by rule of law always recognises in every human being and is under obligation to recognize such rights in order to maintain and preserve the dignity of an individual regardless of gender, race, religion, caste and creed. It is, of course, subject to imposing certain reasonable restrictions…”

Justice S K Kaul

“The importance of privacy may vary from person to person dependent on his/her approach to society and his concern for being left alone or not. That some people do not attach importance to their privacy cannot be the basis for denying recognition to the right to privacy as a basic human right.”

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