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Theology e-magazine To make humanity united in worshipping God

We get a Private life Our Heavenly Patron
Human’s right to have full protection in person and
property was developed along with human’s need to have a
natural law to govern and protect them from the atrocities.
During the Classic Era of Natural Law, Thomas Aquinas
propounded the need for the recognition of human’s spiritual
nature, of his/her feelings, and his/her intellect.
We now pass through the troublesome days of pain and
grief as our sister Gauri Lankesh was shot to death and our
brethren Rohingyas were being persecuted. We join with all
human right activists in their protest in search for a more
meaningful and dignified living.
When govts, religious authorities, agencies, intrude into our
life we need to talk more about our privacy. Yes privacy
matters a lot .

Right to life has come to mean the right to enjoy life,
right to be let alone; the right to liberty secures the
exercise of extensive civil privileges; and the term right to
property has grown to comprise every form of possession
– intangible, as well as tangible.
No person shall be deprived of his life and
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liberty except according to procedure
established by law. Art. 21

In India in the post-Maneka era (after the case Maneka
Gandhi v. Union of India), Supreme Court extended its
dimension given to Art. 21 and asserted it as the heart of the
Fundamental Rights. The right which cannot be traced
specifically in the constitution, and was inferred by the Supreme
Court from Art. 21 and from several other provisions that include
It is the Directive Principles of State Policy.

dangerous What Does International Laws Say
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art 12 :
when people “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his
are willing to privacy, family, home or correspondence nor to attack upon his
honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to protection of law
give up their
against such interference or attacks”.
European Convention on Human Rights, Art 8:
Noam “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family
Chomsky right, his home and his correspondence; there shall be no
interference by a public authority except the interest of
national security...for the protection of health or morals or for the
protection of rights and freedoms of others.”
International Covenant on Civil & Political
Rights, Art 17:
“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary
or unlawful interference with his privacy,
family, home and correspondence, nor to
unlawful attacks on his honour and

Meaning of the word ‘Privacy’
Dictionary of Black’ Law gives the definition “right to be let alone; the right of
person to be free from any unwarranted interference by the public in matters with
which the public is not necessarily concerned”.
Our Position Till Now.. Page - 03

1) And eight-judge bench ruled in the MP Sharma case (1954) there was no
right to privacy under a specific Article, but it did not extinguish a general
fundamental right to privacy.

2) It was in Kharak Singh v. State of UP This surveillance of police
(1962) that the issue of privacy was impugned was challenged to be
for the first time. In the case Kharak Singh infringement of fundamental
was let off in a dacoit case due to lack of rights and the fundamental right
evidence. And by the provisions of Uttar of Art 21 was refer to in the
Pradesh police regulations that allowed secret challenge. Later in the majority
picketing of Singh’s house, domiciliary visits judgement, the court ruled that
at night, periodic inquiries by officers and privacy was not a guaranteed
tracking his movement. constitutional right.

The right to privacy in India has developed through a series of decisions over the
past 60 years. The question of constitutionality of right to privacy was a well
debated issue, which received several interpretations from the courts of India, and
was frequently challenged in cases until the Supreme Court passed its solid
judgement on August 24th 2017 and ruled that privacy is a fundamental right
because it is intrinsic to the right to life.

3) Justice K. S. Puttaswamy (Rtd.) vs. Union of India And Others on 24
August 2017. In 2012, For m er K ar nataka HC judge, K S Puttaswamy, now
91, filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of
Aadhaar on the ground that it violates the rights to privacy.
During the hearings the party to the
case the Central Government, opposed the
classification of privacy as a fundamental
right. And the bench was set up not to look
into to the constitutional validity of aadhaar,
but to consider a much larger question:
Whether right to privacy is a
fundamental right and can be traced For the purpose of the same the
in the right to life and personal bench looked into the origin of the
liberty. right to privacy.
Aadhaar and Right to Privacy Page - 04

The package of Aadhaar project as a welfare-enhancing project was the sugar
-coating on what is essentially turning into a surveillance and data-mining tool. A
centralised database creates entrepreneurial data analytics possibilities which
clash in a fundamental way with civil liberties. Centralised and inter-linked
databases lead to profiling and self-censorship, which endangers our freedom.
What sets aadhaar apart from other examples (the registration act or the Social
Security Number) is that:
 our biometric and demographic data are being stored in a centralised database,
 a unique number is associated with our biometric and other information,
 this unique number is being sought to be seeded with every possible- public and
private database in the country.

Why is that a Problem?
Today information about my life is stored in different data silos like – train
travel, air travel, bank account, mobile phone, employment history, health and so
on. And the only person who has access to these is, me. If the Aadhaar number is
seeded into every database, it integrates these data silos. And thereby
 I lose control over who can reconstruct a profile of my life.
 the Govt will be able to profile me by pulling in information .
 This will lead to self-censorship and creation of centralised database,
 It can become a tool for surveillance.
Apex court’s view on Aadhaar card
The historic judgement has said that privacy is a fundamental right, but it is
not absolute and is subject to certain reasonable restrictions. The court has given
examples of legitimate state interests such as
 national security,
 preventing crime,
 encouraging innovation
 spread of knowledge
 preventing the dissipation of welfare benefits. The current uses of Aadhaar fall in
this category.
Response of CEO, Aadhar Page - 05

The CEO of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has
told the public that use of Aadhaar in subsidy schemes are for prevention of
dissipation of social welfare benefits. Linkage of Aadhaar card income tax returns,
bank accounts and other things such as SIM cards etc. is for ensuring fraud,
impersonation, black money, tax evasion, do not take place. The final judgement on
the Aadhaar issues is yet to come.

1) Justice
S.A. Bobde:
If a
man has to
die with
dignity, he
has to have

2) Chief Justice J.S. Khehar:
If what you have been asked to disclose bothers you, then it infringes your
right of privacy. Voices concern over possible misuse of personal information in
public domain.

3) Justice J. Chelameswar:
I do not think that anybody would like to be told by the state as to what they
should eat or how they should dress or whom they should be associated with either
in their personal, social or political life.... There is a battery of judgments saying
privacy is a fundamental right, we cannot ignore them.

4) Justice Rohinton Nariman F. Nariman:
Don't forget the little man's right to privacy, everything about right to privacy
is not connected to the Aadhaar issue. Laws should reflect the “needs of the times”
and protect the citizens from violations by the State and non-State players. Privacy
can be read into the Constitution as a fundamental right .
5) Justice AM Sapre: Page - 06
Privacy is not absolute right, it is subjected to certain reasonable restrictions
which the state is entitled to impose on the basis of social, moral and compelling
public interest in accordance with law.

6) Justice D.Y. Chandrachud:
Essence of human life is when I want to choose solitude, I can choose it. And if
I want to socially co-habit, I can do it. You (Centre) are wrong to say that privacy is
an elitist construct. Privacy also affects the masses.

LGBT and Impact of Right to Privacy

Section 377 of IPC was Bringing hope and cheer to the LGBT
stuck down by the Delhi community, the Supreme Court judgement on the
High Court in July 2009. right to privacy has rekindled the possibility that
However, overruling this Section 377 of the IPC, which holds that gay sex is a
judgement, the Supreme crime, could soon be history.
The recent judgement on privacy, said the
Court upheld section 377
right to privacy cannot be denied “even if a minuscule
IPC in what is popularly
fraction of population is affected”. On hearing the case
referred to as the Kaushal
Justice J. S Khehar said privacy was “protected as an
intrinsic part of Art. 21 that protects life and liberty”.

“Privacy includes at its core the preservation of personal intimacies, the sanctity
of family life, marriage, procreation, the home and sexual orientation….. Privacy
also connotes a right to be left alone.
It is an individual’s choice as to who enters
his house, how he lives and in what
relationship. ” the Court said that one’s
sexual orientation is undoubtedly an
attribute of privacy.

The judgement has made it clear that LGBT
citizens like anyone else enjoy not the right to privacy,
but right to equality, right to free expression and right
to life. The judgement stopped short of overruling the
SC’s previous order. It is for a five-judge bench, which
is looking at the curative petition, to take a final call.
Supreme Court on a few other issues: Page - 07

1. Beef Laws
In 2015, the Bombay High Court said that state shall not intrude on the
privacy of citizens to find out if they are in possession of beef or any other form of
meat. The Maharashtra Govt later said that the high court “ while coming to the
finding that right to privacy forms part of the fundamental right to personal liberty
guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, ought to have appreciated that
right to privacy has not yet been designated as a fundamental right.”
The Supreme Court in its judgement lately deemed right to privacy as a
fundamental right. The court also said that “….as new cases brought new issues
and problems before the court, the content of right to privacy has found
elaboration in these diverse contexts. These would include….food preferences and
animal slaughter.”

2. Euthanasia 3. Abortion
“Concerns of privacy arise when the State seeks The Court said that “A
to intrude into the body of the ‘subjects’. Forced woman’s freedom of
feeding of certain persons by State raises concerns of choice whether to bear a
privacy. An individual’s rights to refuse life child or abort her
prolonging medical treatment or terminate his life is pregnancy are areas which
another freedom which fall within the zone of the fall in the realm of
right to privacy.” privacy.”

4. Telephone Tapings & Internet Hacking
“Telephone tapings and internet hacking by State, of personal data is another
area which falls within the realm of privacy. The instant reference arises out of such
an attempt by the Union of India to collect bio-metric data regarding all the
residents of this country.”

Concluding Remarks...
Privacy is subjective and eludes a straitjacket definition. Our society is at
crossroads of the digital revolution and the right to privacy. As the moves towards
the digital medium, the Indian cultural context poses challenges to the
understanding and the implementing privacy as a right that is intrinsic to life and
liberty. Indians need to understand that privacy is not about what you want to hide
but what others need not see.

Editor: Tony Maliyekal VC Published from Vincentian Vidyabhavan, Aluva.