Right to privacy: Do we enjoy it or not?

In the last half of the century, privacy as a fundamental right has often been a major part of discussion in the legal community. This is mainly due to the varying interpretations and the varying levels to which it can  be enjoyed by citizens as cited by Supreme court in numerous  cases. Most of these cases points to the fact that privacy as a right has not been explicitly mentioned in our constitution but comes under the broader interpretation of right to life and liberty mentioned under article 21. Also right to human dignity has been implicitly mentioned in our preamble. If we look at the fundamental rights mentioned in our constitution, one thing becomes perfectly clear that every individual has his right to exercise his own freedom and liberty unless it does not affect the interests of others. Hence it becomes imperative for the government to ensure that citizens of this country enjoy a certain degree of privacy and that it does not get violated arbitrarily. This is quite contrasting to the opinion expressed by the Attorney General of India, Mukul Rohatgi in the case filed against the collection of personal information under Aadhar scheme, as an infringement of privacy. The Attorney General argued that there is no such privacy rights enjoyed by citizens and that it is a vague concept. While one can discuss the merits and demerits of the data collection for Aadhar and the security implications associated with its safeguarding policies, one cannot simply declare personal data collection as justifiable on the argument that an individual has no right to privacy and that state can interfere whenever it wants and however it deems fit.


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