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Privacy High Court Tracker

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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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Delhi High Court

Sangamitra Acharya and Ors. vs. State (NCT of Delhi) and Ors.

Dignity

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 18.04.2018
Citation - 250 (2018) DLT 36, MANU/DE/1453/2018
Case Type - Writ Petition (Crl.)
Case Status - Disposed. Some SLP disposed of, some SLP pending.
Legal Provisions - S.19 of Mental Health Act, 1987
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Important Quote

"Protection against an attack on the right of life, liberty, privacy and dignity can be exercised not only against the State but also against non-State actors. .... The horizontal dimension of these rights enables an aggrieved person to invoke constitutional remedies to seek the protection and enforcement of such rights against invasion by a non-state actor."

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Notes

Protection against an attack on right of life, liberty, privacy and dignity can be sought against non-State actors.

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Ravinder vs. Govt of NCT of Delhi and Ors.

Autonomy, Dignity

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 26.04.2018
Citation - 2018 (171) DRJ 346, MANU/DE/1548/2018
Case Type - Writ Petition (Crl.)
Case Status - Disposed. SLP Pending.
Legal Provisions - S. 23, 24 and 28 of Mental Health Act, 1987
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Important Quote

"It is time to abandon the earlier approach of using the mental health law to control or punish people whose behaviour is unacceptable but to view it as an instrument that facilitates care and treatment of the mentally ill in need of it, consistent with their rights to life, liberty, dignity, privacy and autonomy. The indiscriminate use of the mental health law has to stop. It is high time that we dismantled the penal custodial model of the mental health law."

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Notes

This case discusses the consequence of admission to mental health institution on life, liberty, privacy, freedom and dignity.

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Prime Minister's National Relief Fund vs. Aseem Takyar

Informational Privacy, Right to Know and Access Information

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 23.05.2018
Citation - MANU/DE/1960/2018
Case Type - Letter Patents Appeal (LPA)
Case Status - Disposed by Diviosn Bench. Referred to a third judge on account of divergence of opinions.
Legal Provisions - S. 8(1)(e) and (j) of the Right to Information Act, 2005
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Important Quote

"Once something becomes a matter of 'public record', the right of privacy ceases to exist."

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Notes

Once something becomes a matter of 'public record', the right of privacy ceases to exist.

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Swami Ramdev vs. Juggernaut Books Pvt. Ltd. and Ors.

Dignity, Informational Privacy

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 29.09.2018
Citation - MANU/DE/3565/2018
Case Type - Civil Misc. (Main)
Case Status - Disposed. SLP Pending.
Legal Provisions - S. 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Article 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950
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Important Quote

""Reputation" of one cannot be allowed to be crucified at the altar of the other's right of free speech. ... whatever may be of the interest to the public but has no element of public interest may amount to breach of privacy and an individual thus has a right to protection to protect his reputation from being unfairly harmed in relation thereto not only against false truth but also certain truths."

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Notes

The judgment discusses the right to privacy in publication of unauthorised biographies. Right to privacy includes the right to reputation and must be balanced with other rights.

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Horlicks Ltd and Ors. vs. Heinz India Pvt. Ltd.

Informational Privacy

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 17.12.2018
Citation - 256 (2019) DLT 468, MANU/DE/4628/2018
Case Type - Civil Suit (Commercial)
Case Status - Disposed. Appeal pending before DB.
Legal Provisions - Chapter IV of Advertising Standards Council of India Code.
Article 19(1)(a), 19(2) and 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950
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Important Quote

"The right of a person to claim privacy ... includes rights in relation to commercial use of identity of such person. However, the right to privacy cannot be asserted against information that is already in the public domain."

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Notes

The right to privacy cannot be claimed over information already available in the public domain.

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Sunil Sachdeva vs. Owner of domain name crj7.com and Ors.

Dignity

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 13.11.2019
Citation -2019 (178) DRJ 246, MANU/DE/3836/2019
Case Type - Civil Suit (OS)
Case Status - Disposed.
Legal Provisions - S. 499 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
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Important Quote

"The fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression is subject to reasonable restrictions in the interest of defamation." "No relief of restraining public at large from publishing, circulating the allegedly defamatory content can be granted in general and no relief with respect to similar content also, without adjudicating whether there is any similarity or not, can be granted."

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Notes

The judgment discusses the contours of the right to privacy against defamatory online posts.

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Sasikala Pushpa vs. Facebook India and Ors.

Informational Privacy, Data Protection

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 02.06.2020
Citation - MANU/DE/1143/2020
Case Type - Civil Suit (OS)
Case Status - Disposed.
Legal Provisions - S. 66A, 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Rule 3 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2011
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Important Quote

"This Court is required to balance the right claimed by the plaintiff of privacy qua whom she meets at her residence, has to be balanced with the right of the public to know the identity of the person whom the plaintiff meets and hobnobs with, behind closed doors."

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Notes

The judgment discusses the right to privacy in re photograph/video/audio messages. Right to privacy must be balanced with the right to know in cases of public interest.

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Deepti Kapur vs. Kunal Julka

Search and Seizure, Surveillance, Phone Tapping

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 30.06.2020
Citation - AIR 2020 Delhi 156, MANU/DE/1314/2020
Case Type - Civil Misc. (Main)
Case Status - Disposed.
Legal Provisions - S. 14, 20 of Family Courts Act, 1984.
S. 5, 7, 8 and 65B of Indian Evidence Act, 1872
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Important Quote

"Merely because rules of evidence favour a liberal approach for admitting evidence in court in aid of dispensation of justice, this should not be taken as approval for everyone to adopt any illegal means to collect evidence, especially in relationships of confidence such as marriage. If the right to adduce evidence collected by surreptitious means in a marital or family relationship is available without any qualification or consequences, it could potentially create havoc in people's personal and family lives and thereby in the society at large."

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Notes

This judgment examines the admissibility of evidence collected in breach of privacy.

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Krishna Kishore Singh vs. Sarla A. Saraogi and Ors

Dignity, Autonomy

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision date - 10.06.2021
Citation - CS(COMM) 187/2021; MANU/DE/1056/2021
Case type - Civil Writ Jurisdiction
Case status - Disposed
Legal provisions - Article 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950
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Important Quote

"On this aspect, we must also note that in Puttaswamy (supra), wherein the right to privacy was declared to be a fundamental right on the anvil of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the Supreme Court has reflected upon personality rights also, and observed that: ""58. Every individual should have a right to be able to exercise control over his/her own life and image as portrayed to the world and to control commercial use of his/her identity. This also means that an individual may be permitted to prevent others from using his image, name and other aspects of his/her personal life and identity for commercial purposes without his/her consent."""

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Notes

Right to publicity or celebrity rights rests with that specific individual, and such rights cannot be enforced posthumously.

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X vs. Union of India and Ors

Dignity, Bodily Integrity

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision date - 20.04.2021
Citation - 280 (2021) DLT 57, MANU/DE/0767/2021
Case type - Criminal Misc. Writ Petition
Case status - Disposed
Legal provisions - S. 67, 67A, 67B, 67C, 75, 79, 81 and 85 of the Information Technology Act, 2000
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Important Quote

"That apart, the inclusion of the name and/or likeness of a person on such website, even if the photograph of the person is not in itself obscene or offensive, without consent or concurrence, would at the very least amount to breach of the person's privacy, which a court may, in appropriate cases, injunct or restrain."

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Notes

The action of taking a person's photographs and posting them to another website without their consent is violative of a persons privacy.

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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.