Preserving Constitutive Values in the Modern Panopticon: The Case for Legislating toward a Privacy Right in India
Ujwala Uppaluri & Varsha Shivanagowda
Volume 5 Issue 1 (2012)
As on date, the only meaningful, if arguably broad, affirmation of a right to privacy has been in the context of the Supreme Court’s treatment of Art. 21 of the Constitution, which embodies the guarantee of a right to life and personal liberty. No substantial legislative measures granting and detailing a broad and general right of privacy presently exist in the Indian context, although some measures are scattered across context-specific legislation. Recent events have brought to light the need to operationalise these judicial observations through a legislative statement of the right fleshing out the field within which the sanctity of the private domain will be recognised and upheld. This paper seeks to explore the contours of the notion of a general right to privacy. It confronts the critiques of such a right and discusses the predominant working models in other major jurisdictions. In the result, it asserts the need for an umbrella legislation addressing the varied areas in which the right of the individual to privacy, against governmental incursion into private spaces as well as against other forms of intrusion by the media and other citizens, must accrue.