Does Right to Privacy really exist in today's world?

The nine-judge bench recently gave a unanimous verdict on Right to Privacy being a fundamental right as per the Indian constitution. But it has also been declared that it's not an absolute right i.e., Right to Privacy is subjected to reasonable restrictions.

This contentious issue was brought before the Supreme Court by few petitioners who were challenging the Centre's move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes. Though Aadhaar was voluntary but the Centre government made it mandatory for many schemes thus leading to raking up of few important concerns associated to the right of privacy.

After the judgment, people were seen celebrating their fundamental right to privacy while ignoring the reality at the same time. On one hand, we happily share our private information on social media platforms for the sign up process whereas when it comes to be accountable for paying tax and related issues, we are suddenly adopt cautious behavior.

Have you ever given a thought to the fact that WhatsApp and Facebook have all your contacts and images? Samsung and Apple have your fingerprints and retina scan, Netflix can has the Credit Card information, Amazon knows your address, email, and phone number and Fake LinkedIn profiles can have your entire CV but people have issues because government cannot ask for any personal information to keep a check on urea and cattle smuggling.

Prioritizing privacy over national security is quite difficult to understand but as per the mass opinion, personal consent matters more. In an era, where majority of our data resides on internet because we are the ones who check mark the "Terms and Conditions" without reading them yet we are scared to death that government will lose our personal information somehow.

Even after providing personal information to unknown sources in bits and pieces, we are obsessed with the conventional idea of privacy and welcome "Fundamental right to Privacy". The companies we are working in have our bio-metric information, the courier company knows our address, the medical laboratory have your health information and blood group yet masses will behave like dolts seeking justice and demanding a clause for personal consent to give out personal information.

The technological advancement has given rise to many concerns which were not there a decade back hence the interpretation of the word "Privacy" has changed in today's age. But looking at it from Judiciary's perception, the right to privacy cannot be denied to even the smallest section of the society is affected because of it. Whether we accept it or not, the right to privacy in life is an inalienable right and thus its acknowledgement by the Judiciary cannot be interpreted as the amendment of the Constitution because it was already embedded in the system. The motive should be to have more flexible and resilient approach while understanding the concept of "Right to Privacy". This right acts both ways e.g., firstly it will restrain the authorities from intrusion into people's personal lives and secondly, it will act as an obligation for the state to ensure protection of the people. Thus, the right offers people to enjoy autonomous lives.

 

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Author

Hardeep Bali