The saddest are these: ‘It might have been’.–John Whittier
Whittier’s words aptly manifest my longing. They manifest my unfulfilled aspiration- “How would it have been if I had worked or interned under Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman.” This wish did not come to fruition as this colossal judge Nariman retired on 12th August. The seed of this dream was sown during my nascent law school years as I came across one of his lectures.
No right is absolute, and every right comes with certain restrictions. So does the Right to Privacy, which is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Right to life includes Right to Privacy and, as it is argued somewhere else on this blog, ‘privacy, as a right, is important for an individual to exercise control over his or her personality.’ The authority of the State to restrict the Right to Life (and limiting the right to Privacy) derives from the second part of Article 21. It states that the rights cannot be violated ‘except according to procedure established by the law’. After the Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, the procedure established by the law must also be just, fair and reasonable. Every such procedure must pass the scrutiny of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. This post highlights the conditions under which the Indian State can constitutionally intervene with the Right to Privacy. Herein, it is crucial to understand that the rights are the general norms that must triumph, and the restrictions are exceptions. No exception can override the general norms except in certain clearly defined conditions (also known as ‘tests’ or ‘doctrines’).