[Answered] Discuss the significance of Supreme Court judgement in K.S. Puttaswamy case. What steps Indian government should take to protect the privacy of Indian citizens?

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Significance of Puttaswamy judgement. Steps to ensure privacy.
Conclusion. Way forward.

In 2017, a 9 judge bench of the Supreme Court in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy vs Union of India passed a historic judgment. It declared privacy to be a fundamental right under Part 3 of Indian constitution. The Supreme Court has, however, clarified that like most other fundamental rights, the right to privacy is not an “absolute right” and is subject to the satisfaction of certain tests and benchmarks.

Significance of Puttaswamy judgement:

  1. Puttaswamy case resulted into declaration of right to privacy as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Thus one can move to Supreme Court or high court against tyranny of state.
  2. This will strengthen freedom of thoughts, expressions, beliefs etc.
  3. Provides for protection against the state’s interference in the private matters including marriage, family & sex.
  4. It will help in prevent the situation of surveillance by the state.
  5. It will give boost to the rights of the transgender & LGBT as confirmed by scrapping of section 377 of IPC.
  6. The dignity & integrity of a people’s body, mind & thoughts are protected through Right to privacy.
  7. Now one can make the state accountable & seek justice in case of any infringement in the private zone & in case of unnecessary surveillance without her consent.
  8. This opens doors for further debates, will encourage awareness about the rights enjoyed by the citizens.
  9. This verdict on right to privacy will also challenge the validity of privacy policies of many companies and will make them transparent and accountable.

What government should do to protect right to privacy of Indian citizens?

  1. Individual consent should be must for data sharing. Consent must be obligatory to attain by all entities including the State, which determine purpose and means of data processing.
  2. A Data Protection Authority (DPA), as an independent regulatory body responsible for the enforcement and effective implementation of the law must be established.
  3. Government should monitor and enforce various regulations and laws diligently and transparently.
  4. Government should promote research and awareness about citizen’s right to privacy.
  5. Sensitive personal data that like biometric should be prohibited for use without written consent.
  6. The Central Government shall establish an appellate tribunal to hear and dispose of any appeal against an order of breach of privacy.
  7. Penalties should be imposed for violations of the data protection law. Compensation for lose of privacy should be given to individual from such fines.

In the era of increased cyber crimes and frauds, Supreme Court judgement is critical for rights of Indian citizens. It’s responsibility of government to secure its citizen’s rights. Government should keep a close vigil over various companies and should ban companies involved in privacy breach.

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