EVOLUTION OF RIGHT TO PRIVACY IN INDIA

Right to Privacy in India was not recognized as a Fundamental Right until the Supreme Court’s famous Puttaswamy Judgement. In 1954, an eight-judge bench of the Supreme Court in the case of M.P. Sharma v. Satish Chandra had held that the Right to Privacy is not covered or protected by the Constitution. The Court had laid down that the power of the State to carry out search and seizure is regulated by law however it is not restricted by the Constitution, since the Constitution itself does not recognize Right to Privacy as Fundamental Right. 

In the year 1963, in Kharak Singh v. State of U P, a six-judge bench while deciding the validity of U.P Police Regulations for daily surveillance held that domiciliary visits at night was unconstitutional but upheld the rest of the regulations valid. The majority held that the right to privacy is not guaranteed under the Constitution. However, the minority view was that privacy is a fundamental right considering the scope of Articles 21 and 19(1). 

In the year 2014, the Supreme Court in the case of Unique Identification Authority of India & Another v. Central Bureau of Investigation passed an interim order to stop UIDAI from transferring any biometric information or Aadhar number of any citizen to CBI or any other agency without the consent of the concerned citizens. This order reflected the need for an intact establishment of right to privacy.

Ultimately, in 2017, the nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court in K. S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India declared the right to privacy to be a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution. The Court considered the consequences that the UIDAI system will have on the right to privacy of citizens and while doing so Retired Justice Puttaswamy argued that the right ought to be a fundamental right especially considering the changing social events. The judgement also laid down a test of proportionality to ensure that the right to privacy is not violated by any executive action unless it is sanctioned by law and has legitimate state interest. 

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