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Privacy High Court Tracker

Open Spreadsheet

The CCG Privacy High Court Tracker is a resource consisting of decisions on the constitutional right to privacy passed by all High Courts in India. The Privacy High Court Tracker captures cases post the pronouncement of the Justice (Retd.) K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India (Puttaswamy) judgment. In Puttaswamy, the Supreme Court of India reaffirmed the existence of the right to privacy in India’s Constitution as a fundamental right. 

The Privacy High Court Tracker is a tool to enable lawyers, judges, policymakers, legislators, civil society organisations, academic and policy researchers and other relevant stakeholders, to engage with, understand and analyse the evolving privacy law and jurisprudence across India. The cases deal with the following aspects of privacy (1) autonomy, (2) bodily integrity, (3) data protection, (4) dignity, (5) informational privacy, (6) phone tapping, (7) press freedom, (8) right to know and access information, and (9) surveillance, search and seizure. 

The tracker currently only consists of cases reported on Manupatra, and those reported upto 15 May 2021 (CCG will continue to update the tracker periodically). Only final judgements are included in the tracker, and not interim orders of the High Courts. 

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Calcutta High Court

Mursaleen Mohammad vs. Union of India

Bodily Integrity, Dignity

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 19.06.2018
Citation - 2018 CriLJ 4083, MANU/WB/0620/2018
Case Type - Criminal Appeal
Case Status - Disposed
Legal Provisions - S. 103 of the Customs Act, 1962.
S. 50 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
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Important Quote

"Procedure entailing recovery of Narcotics/contraband from the body of the suspect requires invasion into the physical body of the suspect and an encroachment into his privacy. Such exercise being invasive in nature must not only be in strict compliance of statutory safeguards as contemplated in Section 103 of the Customs Act but also must be in consonance to the dignity of the suspect and ought not involve any cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment lest such procedure runs fowl of Article 21 of the Constitution."

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Notes

Invasive recovery of narcotics/contraband from the body of accused amounting to breach of right to privacy.

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Vineet Ruia and Ors. vs. Principal Secretary, Department of School Education and Ors.

Informational Privacy, Data Protection

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 13. 10. 2020
Citation - MANU/WB/0696/2020
Case Type - Writ Appeal
Case Status - Disposed
Legal Provisions - Articles 226, 30(1) and 14 of the Constitution of India, 1950
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Important Quote

"As for privacy, every person is entitled to his accounts not being opened up to all and sundry unless mandated by law as in the case of public companies or some categories of trusts or societies. But the ordinary right of privacy is not so absolute as to deny a constitutional court the authority to assess whether a wholesome charge of unjust enrichment or profiteering is substantiated by calling for such accounts or by having the accounts evaluated by an expert. The rights as asserted under Articles 19 and 30(1) of the Constitution and even the right of privacy may be used as a shield against invasive instruments and blatantly intrusive acts of the State; they cannot be used as swords to parry a credible charge of profit-making in an educational institution, minority or otherwise, whether aided or unaided."

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Notes

The right to privacy includes protection of personal information like financial statements/accounts.

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Methodology

The Privacy High Court Tracker has been developed using judgements pulled from the Manupatra case law database. Through its search function, CCG identified cases that relied upon the Puttaswamy judgment and were pertaining to the right to privacy, and filtered them by each of the 25 High Courts in India. These were then further examined to identify those cases whose decisions concerned a core aspect of privacy. CCG identified the following aspects of privacy (1) autonomy, (2) bodily integrity, (3) data protection, (4) dignity, (5) informational privacy, (6) phone tapping, (7) press freedom, (8) right to know and access information, and (9) surveillance, search and seizure. Cases where only incidental or passing observations or references were made to Puttaswamy and the right to privacy were not included in the tracker. The selected cases were then compiled into the database per High Court, with several details highlighted for ease of reference. These details consist of case name, decision date, case citation and number, case status, legal provisions involved, and bench strength. The tracker also includes select quotes concerning the right to privacy from each case, to assist users to more easily and quickly grasp the crux of the case. 

For ease of access to the text of the judgments, each case on our tracker is linked to the Indian Kanoon version of the judgment (wherever available) or an alternative open-access version of the judgment text.

We welcome your feedback. In addition, you may write to us at - ccg@nludelhi.ac.in with the details of any privacy case we may not have included from any High Court in India.