Critical Analysis of KS Puttaswamy Vs Union of India Case (2017)

Critical Analysis of KS Puttaswamy Vs Union of India Case (2017)

This Article is written by Narinder Singh, a student in 2nd year of B.A., LL.B studying at Lovely Professional University, Phagwara.

It formally recognized the right to privacy as being a fundamental right recognized under article 21 right to life and personal liberty. It held that privacy is a natural right that inheres in all natural persons and that the right may be restricted only by state action. The state must have a legislative purpose.

Privacy judgement as a guiding tool

This landmark judgement fundamentally changed the way in which the government viewed citizen’s privacy. It requires governments to take structural reforms and bring transparency and openness in the process of executing its projects. It demands from the authorities to demonstrate great care and sensitivity in dealing with personal data, including the state’s accountable

Right to privacy

8 judge bench in the case of MP Sharma v satish Chandra 11954

  • Investigation is going on against Dalmia group
  • For Malpractices an fir is registered
  • Search and seizure warrant issue

Issue: other documents with companies’ private documents is also searching which violates their privacy right.

Court: for the security of the state was provided overriding powers of search and seizure.

In addition, there is no such concept of right to privacy in the Indian constitution.

US constitution: 4th amendment of the constitution provides right to privacy to its citizens.

Kharak Singh v State of UP (1962)

There is surveillance in the matter of dacoity that is

UP police regulation – suspect, domiciliary visit, tracking

Six judge bench–domiciliary visits were deemed unconstitutional but other regulations was deemed valid.

Right to movement under article 19(1) d infringes with physical restriction.

J SUBHA RAO– anybody can enjoy the freedom of movement anywhere for personal purposes. If the movement is been tracked then how free, is it?

PUCL v UOI (1997)

Wire tapping case

CBI investigation against pucl a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court Indian telegraph act – section 5(2) was challenged

This section provides powers of tapping for public safety and security.


Right to privacy under right to right to life and personal liberty under article 21.

Telephonic conversion violates privacy of a person that is Indian telegraph rules -rule 419(A)

This private data can be used for private purposes that is unofficially with malafide intent, which hampers individual privacy.

Social impact

Right to privacy although not expressly mentioned in the Indian constitution, is an inherent right guaranteed by article 21. Declaring eight to privacy as fundamental right will have a positive impact on some of the existing laws in India like that of homosexuality under section 377 of the IPC.

Right to privacy has been given an international recognition some of them being article eight of European convention and article 12 of universal declaration of human rights.

Right to privacy does not lie on the foundation of secrecy , it lies on the foundation of dignity.

Justice KS Puttaswamy Vs Union of India ( Aadhar case)

9 judge bench

Challenged Aadhar stating it violate right to privacy of an individual by linking personal details with the Aadhar violates the concept of personnel liberty .

This information may be get used for the purpose of any other malpractice which includes persons personal details like eye scan, thumb expression, face

Attorney general of India : no fundamental right to privacy

On august 2017 – privacy is fundamental right, privacy is already  protected, no specification is needed – article 14,19,21

Steps taken by Government

Government appointed a committee of experts for Data protection under the chairmanship of Justice B N Srikrishna that submitted its report in July 2018 along with a draft Data Protection Bill

The Report has a wide range of recommendations to strengthen privacy law in India. Its proposals included restrictions on processing and collection of data, Data

Protection Authority, right to be forgotten, data localization , explicit consent requirements for sensitive personal data, etc.

Information Technology Act, 2000: The IT Act provides for safeguard against certain breaches in relation to data from computer systems. It contains provisions to prevent the unauthorized use of computers, computer systems and data stored therein. Data use Vs Privacy:

The government has made a rights-oriented approach in the collection, storage and processing of personal data and has stuck to its ‘public good’ and ‘data is the new oil’ discourse.

This is evident from this year’s Economic Survey as it commends the government for having been able to sell and monetize the vehicle owners’ data in the Vihan database and change it with other data. The Draft Personal Data Protection Bill that urged for a ‘free and fair digital economy’, has the digital economy as the end and the notion of privacy merely being a shaper of the means.3

The Draft Personal Data Protection Bill that urged for a ‘free and fair digital economy’, has the digital economy as the end and the notion of privacy merely being a shaper of the means.3

Protection of personal information (Not an absolute right)

Informational privacy is a component of the right to privacy, according to the court. The unauthorized use of such information may, therefore, result in a violation of an individual’s right to exercise control over his data and to be able to regulate his or her existence on the internet.

The ambit of Article 21

The rights which have been held to flow out include Food preferences and animal slaughter, Reproductive rights – medical termination of pregnancy, Protection of personal information – privacy of health records, the right to go abroad, the right of prisoners against bar fetters, the right to legal aid, the right to a speedy trial.

The judgment in M P Sharma vs. Satish Chandra, which held that the right to privacy is not protected by the Indian Constitution, is overturned;

The judgment in Kharak Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, to the extent that it holds that the right to privacy is not protected by the Constitution, is overturned as well.

Under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, the right to privacy is safeguarded as an integral aspect of the right to life and personal liberty, as well as one of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.


The lawsuit was started after Justice K.S. Puttaswamy, a former Karnataka High Court judge, filed a petition in regard to the Aadhaar Project, which was handled by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The Aadhaar number was a 12-digit identifying number given to Indian citizens by the UIDAI.


Whether and whether the right to privacy was a basic right under India’s Constitution’s Part III.


Privacy was declared a unique and independent basic right under Article 21 of the Constitution by the Supreme Court in six different rulings. The heart of the ruling outlined a wide view of the right to privacy: it was not limiting protection against physical invasion, nor a derived right under Article 21, but one that included the body and intellect, encompassing decisions, choices, knowledge, and freedom. Part III of the Constitution was found to provide an overarching, enforceable, and multidimensional right to privacy. The extent of the right was debated in detail in the various opinions.


A rights-oriented data protection legislation is the need of the hour

which includes comprehensive surveillance reform prohibiting mass surveillance and institution of a judicial oversight mechanism for targeted surveillance, and which recognizes the principle that the state ought to be a model data controller as it deals with its citizens’ personal information.

Privacy right is not absolute rights. They are subject to rational limitation for the protection of crimes, disadvantage, morality, or the protection of other human rights.

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