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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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Patna High Court

Ajay Kumar Singh vs. Director General of Investigation, Income Tax and Ors.

Surveillance, Search and Seizure

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision Date - 02.12.2020
Citation - 2021 (1) BLJ 340, MANU/BH/0742/2020
Case Type - Civil Writ Jurisdiction
Case Status - Disposed.
Legal Provisions - S. 132 of the Income Tax Act, 1961
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Important Quote

"Search and seizure proceedings ... empowers the Revenue Department to bypass the privacy of an assessee or any individual, whom the Revenue has a 'reason to believe,' would hold some information regarding tax evasion activities. In light of this power which clearly encroaches against the fundamental right to life and personal liberty, in as much as their privacy is concerned, must be contained within the limits of the law. Hence a strict reading of these empowering sections is necessary to avoid the pitfall of granting unfettered powers to the Revenue Department."

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Notes

Search and Seizure operations with proper authorization do not violate right to privacy.

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Shivani Kaushik and Ors. vs. Union of India and Ors.

Informational Privacy, Right to Information

2 Judge

Case Details

Decision date - 18.06.2021
Citation - MANU/BH/0407/2021
Case type - Civil Writ Jurisdiction
Case status - Order passed
Legal provisions - S. 4, 10, 17 and 19 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969. S. 4 of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
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Important Quote

"""The Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 (Act No. 18 of 1969) and also the Right to Information Act, 2005, gives a right to a person in almost unequivocal terms of their access to information and therefore, the Digital Portals should be made accessible to the general public with regular and timely updates. It is needless to say that private information of deceased individuals will still be protected under the Right to Privacy read into Article 21 of the Constitution but has to be balanced with 'General public awareness' and information dissemination."" ""The information to be updated regularly on the digital portal shall be done in line with the right to privacy, recognized under the Constitution."""

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Notes

Information can be updated on a digital portal, but the same must be done in line with the individual's right to 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.