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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 September 2022 (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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Kerala High Court

Mini K.T. vs. Senior Divisional Manager (Disciplinary Authority), Life Insurance Corporation of India and Ors.

Dignity || Kerala High Court

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 21.12.2017
Citation - ILR 2018 (1) Kerala 355, MANU/KE/1919/2017
Case Type - Writ Petition (Civil)
Case Status - Disposed.
Legal Provisions - Articles 14, 15, 16, 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950
View Case

Important Quote

"In Justice K.S. Puttaswamy's case (supra), the Hon'ble Supreme Court while adverting to the privacy of individual observed that privacy is an essential aspect of dignity. ... To understand the dignity of a woman, the societal background has to be considered. ... No action is possible against a woman employee for her absence from duty on account of compelling circumstances for taking care of her child. No service regulations can stand in the way of a woman for claiming protection of her fundamental right of dignity as a mother. ... motherhood is an inherent dignity of woman, which cannot be compromised."

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Notes

No action is possible against a woman employee for her absence from duty on account of compelling circumstances for taking care of her child. Privacy is an essential aspect of dignity of women as mothers.

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Oommen Chandy vs. State of Kerala and Ors.

Dignity, Informational Privacy || Kerala High Court

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 15.05.2018
Citation - ILR 2018 (2) Kerala 732, MANU/KE/1039/2018
Case Type - Writ Petition (Civil)
Case Status - Disposed.
Legal Provisions - S. 8B of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952
View Case

Important Quote

"On account of its nature as a right that is personal to an individual, I am of the view that the newly recognised fundamental right to privacy, which takes within its fold the right to protection of ones reputation as well, would merit classification as a fundamental right that protects an individual, not only against arbitrary State action, but also against the actions of other private citizens, such as the press or media."

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Notes

Incorporation of the contents of a letter produced before the Inquiry Commission, containing sexual allegations against a party, making it vulnerable to a discussion by the public and the media amounts to infringement of the right to privacy.

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C.S. Chacko vs. Union of India and Ors.

Autonomy, Informational Privacy || Kerala High Court

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 02.08.2018
Citation - AIR 2018 Ker 166, MANU/KE/1957/2018
Case Type - Writ Petition (Civil)
Case Status - Disposed.
Legal Provisions - Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India, 1950
View Case

Important Quote

"Our Constitution, through its preamble, proclaims liberty of thought, action, belief, faith and worship as cherished concepts, that are guaranteed to all persons through Articles 25 and 26 thereof. It is through the exercise of these very liberties, that the petitioner chose to be a member of the 6th respondent Church, or to continue to be one. His actions were also in accordance with the exercise of his fundamental right to choose the religion that he wanted to adopt. Having done so, he cannot be heard to say that his continuance as a member of the Church is on account of any compulsion that is imposed on him."

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Notes

Practice of compulsory confession amongst Orthodox Syrian Christians not violative of right to privacy.

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Gopalakrishnan P. vs. State of Kerala

Informational Privacy, Dignity, Data Protection || Kerala High Court

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 14.08.2018
Citation - 2018 (4) KLT 1159, MANU/KE/2817/2018
Case Type - Criminal Misc. (Main)
Case Status - Disposed.
Legal Provisions - S. 173 and 207 of CrPC, 1973
View Case

Important Quote

"In the case of Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and Another vs. Union of India and Others, the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court had held that the fundamental rights emanate from basic notions of liberty and dignity and the enumeration of some facets of liberty as distinctly protected rights under Article 19 does not denude Article 21 of its expansive ambit. It was held that, validity of a law which infringes the fundamental rights has to be tested not with reference to the object of state action, but on the basis of its effect on the guarantees of freedom... When there is a conflict between Fundamental Rights of a person and statutory rights of another person, Fundamental Rights will prevail."

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Notes

Furnishing copy of memory card to accused is a serious transgression into the right to privacy of victim of sexual abuse.

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The Cochin Institute of Science and Technology vs. Jisin Jijo and Ors.

Autonomy || Kerala High Court

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 04.06.2019
Citation - ILR 2019 (2) Kerala 796, MANU/KE/2179/2019
Case Type - Writ Appeal
Case Status - Disposed.
Legal Provisions - Article 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950
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Important Quote

"In K.S. Puttaswamy and Another vs. Union of India and Others, reported in the Supreme Court found that the focus of the guarantee of fundamental rights was the individual and that the fundamental right to life envisaged under Article 21 was a right to a life with dignity. The right of a person to individual autonomy in matters of personal choice and preferences was seen as integral to his dignity and thereby his fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution."

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Notes

The freedom to choose the college of his/her choice for pursuit of studies is a facet of fundamental right to privacy.

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State of Kerala and Ors. vs. Shyam Balakrishnan and Ors.

Surveillance, Search and Seizure || Kerala High Court

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 08.07.2019
Citation - ILR 2019 (3) Kerala 466, MANU/KE/2603/2019
Case Type - Writ Appeal
Case Status - Disposed.
Legal Provisions - S. 149 of CrPC, 1973
View Case

Important Quote

"In the exercise of its powers of judicial review under Article 226 of our Constitution, while acting as a sentinel on the qui vive to protect the fundamental rights of our citizens, this Court exercises a primary review over State action with an emphasis on the doctrine of proportionality. A charge that State action has violated the fundamental right of a citizen calls for a heightened scrutiny of the said action by the Constitutional Courts to determine whether the action of the State in restricting the liberty of the citizen was strictly required by the exigencies of the situation. ... A good end does not justify a bad means more so when the means adopted are such that violate the personal freedom and privacy of individuals."

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Notes

The action of the police authorities in detaining and interrogating a person and thereafter searching his residence, without following due procedure is violative of the right to privacy.

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Raju Sebastian and Ors. vs. Union of India and Ors.

Informational Privacy, Data Protection || Kerala High Court

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 04.09.2019
Citation - AIR 2020 Ker 3, MANU/KE/3533/2019
Case Type - Writ Appeal
Case Status - Disposed. Judgment of the Single Judge in Nana Auto Fuels and Ors. vs. Union of India and Ors. MANU/KE/2762/2018 overruled..
Legal Provisions - Article 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950
View Case

Important Quote

"Privacy attaches to the person and not the place where the information is kept. The right to privacy is not lost as a result of confidential information being parted with by the customer to the custody of the bank. ... Any information which discloses remittances made to the Income Tax Department towards discharge of tax liability would constitute personal information. A demand for furnishing income tax returns filed by a person would constitute invasion of the privacy of a person."

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Notes

A demand for furnishing income tax returns filed by a person would constitute invasion of the privacy of a person.

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Faheema Shirin R.K. vs. State of Kerala and Ors.

Autonomy, Right to Know and Access Information || Kerala High Court

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 19. 09. 2019
Citation - AIR 2020 Ker 35, MANU/KE/3799/2019
Case Type - Writ Petition (Civil)
Case Status - Disposed.
Legal Provisions - Article 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950
View Case

Important Quote

"The right to have access to Internet becomes the part of right to education as well as right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution of India."

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Notes

The right of a student to have access to internet is also part of the right to privacy.

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Vilasini and Ors. vs. State of Kerala and Ors.

Dignity || Kerala High Court

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 14.02.2020
Citation - 2020 (4) KLT 863, MANU/KE/0546/2020
Case Type - Writ Petition (Civil)
Case Status - Disposed.
Legal Provisions - Rule 7, Kerala Abkari Shops Disposal Rules, 2002
View Case

Important Quote

"The task of the constitutional court while determining the issue related to privacy falls on factual criteria to classify the action complained. This task essentially is a fact finding. ... violation of privacy must have an immutable character available to the group or collective. ... In a challenge based on infringement of privacy, the first task upon the constitutional court is to classify the nature of the action complained. On the classification of such action, the Court has to find out whether such action complained is sufficient to harm the citizen from enjoying his life with dignity or amenities which he was enjoying before the action complained ... Privacy rights cannot be recognized to promote the individual interest to deny the rights of others. ... No toddy shop shall be located in a residential area infringing the right of privacy of the individual to have respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence as referred in Article 8 of European Convention on Human Rights. ... No new licence or renewal shall be granted to toddy shops in a residential area without assessing privacy rights impact."

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Notes

Lays down the 'Threshold Severity Test' for impact on privacy rights. Privacy impact assessment must be made by the State before grant or renewal of licence to toddy shop in residential areas.

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Neethu Narendran vs. State of Kerala

Autonomy, Bodily Integrity || Kerala High Court

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 30.04.2020
Citation - 2020 (3) KLT 155, MANU/KE/1771/2020
Case Type - Writ Petition (Civil)
Case Status - Disposed.
Legal Provisions - S. 3 of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971
View Case

Important Quote

"In Justice K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India, the Supreme Court has approved the constitutional right of a woman to make reproductive choices as part of her personal liberty under Art. 21 of the Constitution of India. Their Lordships went further and expanded the doctrine of right to privacy to even include the right of a woman to enjoy or not to enjoy motherhood. The concept of a woman having autonomy of the body and mind which includes the ability to make decisions on vital matters of concern to her life have been elevated to the status of her right to privacy."

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Notes

Women's autonomy of body and mind is part of right to privacy.

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X vs. S

Informational Privacy || Kerala High Court

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 18.09.2020
Citation - MANU/KE/3082/2020
Case Type - Original Petition (Family Court)
Case Status - Disposed.
Legal Provisions - The Code of Medical Ethics formulated by the Indian Medical Council as per the provisions of S. 20A of the Indian Medical Council Act as amended in 1964.
S. 23 of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017
View Case

Important Quote

"When a court of law orders production of records relating to an individual, it cannot be regarded as an intrusion into the right to privacy of that individual for then it will fall under the expression "except by procedure established by law" of Article 21. ... Before ordering the production of treatment records of a mentally ill person, court must apply its mind judicially and ascertain whether the documents sought for have a material bearing on the case. If it is found that the documents relating to the treatment records of a mentally ill person has a material bearing on the case, the court must then consider whether non production will cause prejudice to the person seeking production. If answers to both the aforesaid questions are in the affirmative only then will the court be justified in ordering production of treatment records of a mentally ill person."

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Notes

When the power is exercised by a Court of law calling for medical records of an individual, the same cannot be regarded as an intrusion into the right to privacy.

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Xxxxx vs. State of Kerala

Autonomy, Dignity || Kerala High Court

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision date - 13.08.2021
Case citation - MANU/KE/1845/2021
Case type - Civil Misc. Writ Petition
Case status - Writ petition allowed
Legal provisions - Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950; Sections 8(1) and 16 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act 1969.
View Case

Important Quote

"In Puttaswamy's case (supra), it was held that ... one of the connotations of “privacy” includes decisional autonomy which comprehends intimate personal choices such as, those governing reproduction as well as choice expressed in public such as, faith or modes of dress."

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Notes

Requirement to provide the name of the sperm donor violates the mother's right to privacy.

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Abhilash R. Nair vs. Sreebha P.S. and Ors.

Bodily Integrity, Autonomy || Kerala High Court

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision date - 17.12.2021
Citation - 2022 (1) KLT159
Case Type - Criminal Original Petition
Case Status - Dismissed
Legal Provisions - Article 20, 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950
View Case

Important Quote

"Courts should always be cautious in making an innocent child from being bastardised if his mother and spouse were living together during the time of conception even if the result of DNA test is found to be against mother and child. In the present case, the petitioner is stoutly denying of having had any contact at all with the first petitioner and totally denying the case of the petitioners. In the above circumstances, it would become absolutely necessary to order DNA test to find out the truth regarding the paternity of the second petitioner."

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Notes

DNA test ordered by the court to determine paternity of a child does not violate the right to privacy of the child.

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Alli Noushad vs. Rasheed and Ors.

Informational Privacy || Kerala High Court

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision - 18.02.2022
Citation - MANU/KE/0556/2022
Case Type - Criminal Appeal
Case Status - Disposed
Legal Provisions - S.122 of the Evidence Act, 1872
View Case

Important Quote

"The sacrosanctity of a family, which includes its privacy, is what is essentially sought to be protected by virtue of Section 122. If that be so, the aspect involved herein, touching the fidelity of PW17, is all the more a finer and important one, which requires to be preserved from being divulged, having regard to the purpose and purport of Section 122 of the Evidence Act. Evidence regarding quarrel and the reason behind it are matters which fit into the prohibited compartment of communication between spouses, and therefore, inadmissible. We thus conclude that, that part of the evidence tendered by PW17 which pertains to the quarrel between accused and PW17 is liable to be eschewed as inadmissible under Section 122 of the Evidence Act."

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Notes

Conversation between husband and wife is protected under section 122 of the Evidence Act, 1822 as priviliged conversation between a married couple and would be inadmissable as evidence in court.

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Ismail P.M. vs. Muhammad Ameer-Ul-Islam and Ors

Dignity, Informational Privacy || Kerala High Court

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 15.03.2022
Citation - 2022 (2) KLT 562,
MANU/KE/1318/2022
Case Type - Criminal Misc. Application
Case Status - Disposed
Legal Provisions - S. 372, 374, 377, 378 of CrPC, 1973. Article 32 of the Constitution of India, 1950

Important Quote

"We find merit in the objection of the learned Special Government Pleader that the issuance of copies of records of the subject Sessions case may invade the privacy and dignity of the victim, though 'no more', this being a case of brutal rape, followed by murder. We prefer to believe that privacy and dignity of individual outlives his/her life."

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Notes

Issuing certified copies of a judgment and other documents to a stranger would violate the victim's right to privacy and dignity.

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Ramachandran vs. State of Kerala Represented by Sub-Inspector of Police, Through Public Prosecutor

Autonomy, Bodily Integrity || Kerala High Court

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 30.03.2022
Citation - (2022) 2 KLT 779,
MANU/KE/1121/2022
Case Type - Criminal Appeal
Case Status - Disposed
Legal Provisions - S. 375 Explanation 2, 90, 376(2)(f), 114A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
View Case

Important Quote

"Non-disclosure of material facts by the accused affecting the consent would amount to violation of the sexual autonomy of the woman. Sexual autonomy consists of two requirements. First, the possession of relevant information and second the ability to act in accordance with the personal assessment of that information. The material facts known to the accused if not shared with the woman at the time of committing the sexual act, certainly would encroach upon her right to protect her decisional autonomy."

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Notes

Sexual relations contingent upon the promise to marry would amount to rape only if consent was obtained through non-disclosure of material facts which violated the decisional autonomy of the victim.

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T.N. Suraj vs. State of Kerala and Ors

Informational Privacy, Right to Know and Access Information || Kerala High Court

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 19.04.2022
Citation - MANU/KE/1456/2022
Case Type - Writ Petition (Criminal)
Case Status - Disposed
Legal Provisions - S. 167(1), 327(3) of the CrPC, 1973. Article 19(a), 21 of the Constitution of India, 1950. S. 116, 118, 120B, 302C of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
View Case

Important Quote

"The right of the public to know the details of the criminal case through the media, the media's right to freedom of speech and expression, the right of the victim to bring out the truth through a fair trial, presumption of innocence which the accused or the suspect has until proved guilty, the right to reputation, privacy which are facets of Article 21 of the Constitution of India available to the parties and above all the indefeasible right for a due administration of justice in accordance with the law.....Reports/telecast having the effect of prejudicing mankind against the parties and the court before the case is heard clearly interferes with the course of justice."

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Notes

Publishing or broadcasting information by the media that can cause prejudice to the parties in a case amounts to violation of their right to privacy and reputation.

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Suo Motu vs. Travancore Devaswom Board, Nanthancode and Ors

Informational Privacy || Kerala High Court

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 22.04.2022
Citation - MANU/KE/1371/2022
Case Type - Devaswom Board Petition
Case Status - Disposed
Legal Provisions - Article 14, 19, 21of the Constitution of India, 1950. Rule 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 of the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices And Procedures And Sensitive Personal Data Or Information) Rules, 2011. S. 2, 3, 4 of the Kerala Hindu Places Of Public Worship (Authorisation Of Entry) Act, 1965
View Case

Important Quote

"Any access to the database in Virtual-Q platform by the Kerala Police, for crowd control during festival seasons and also monthly poojas, in order to avoid a stampede or an untoward, or for taking any preventive action in case any specific threat or security input, would not amount to an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of pilgrims."

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Notes

Accessing the database with the information of pilgrims visiting the temple for crowd control during festival seasons and monthly poojas, to avoid a stampede or for taking any preventive action in case of specific threat or security input, would not amount to an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of pilgrims.

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XXX and Ors. vs. The Registrar of Births and Deaths and Ors.

Autonomy || Kerala High Court

1 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 19.07.2022
Citation- MANU/KE/2257/2022
Case Type - Civil Misc. Writ Petition
Case Status - Disposed
Legal provisions - Article 12, 21 of the Constitution Of India - Article 12, 21. S.7 of the Guardians And Wards Act, 1890. S. 11, 15, 23 of the Registration Of Births And Deaths Act, 1969
View Case

Important Quote

"From the above discussions, it is clear that it is the right of a person to include his mother's name alone in the birth certificate, identity certificates and other documents. As I observed earlier, there are children of rape victims and children of unwed mothers in this country. Their right of privacy, dignity and liberty cannot be curtailed by any authority. The mental agony of such person is to be imagined by every citizen of this country while intruding into their privacy. In some cases it will be a deliberate act and in other cases it may be by mistake. But the State should protect citizens of all such kind as equal to other citizens without disclosing their identity and privacy. Otherwise, they will face unimaginable mental agonies."

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Notes

The court granted a request for the removal of the father's name from the birth certificate, leaving the mothers name as the only parent. It held that in cases where a child was born out of forced sexual conduct, it was essential to uphold the child's right to privacy and dignity by expunging the name of the father from the records.

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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.