lawyers in India

Fight between Right to Privacy and Right to Know

Written by: Adv.Vishal K Vora - LL.M. in Comparative Law - University of Florida, Levin College of Law, USA, Gujarat
Media Law
Legal Service
  • 1. Constitutional and Civil Rights A constitutional right is a right granted by a country's constitution, and cannot be legally denied by the government. Civil rights are the protections and privileges of personal liberty given to all citizens by law. Examples of civil rights and liberties include the right to get redress if injured by another, the right to privacy, the right of peaceful protest, the right to a fair investigation and trial if suspected of a crime, and more generally-based constitutional rights such as the right to vote, the right to personal liberty, the right to life, the right to freedom of movement, the right to business and profession, the right to freedom of speech and expression. As civilizations emerged and formalized through written constitutions, some of the more important civil rights were granted to citizens. When those grants were later found inadequate, civil rights movements emerged as the vehicle for claiming more equal protection of law and equality before law for all citizens and advocating new laws to restrict the effect of discriminations. Some civil rights are granted in written constitution and some are implied by customs and courts decisions."

    2. Right to Privacy

    In most of the common law constitutions, right to privacy is not given expressly to their citizens, but derived from judicial review and court decisions. The term "privacy" has been described as "the rightful claim of the individual to determine the extent to which he wishes to share of himself with others and his control over the time, place and circumstances to communicate with others. It means his right to withdraw or to participate as he sees fit. It also means the individual's right to control dissemination of information about himself; it is his own personal possession" Privacy has also been defined as a Zero-relationship between two or more persons in the sense that there is no interaction or communication between them, if they so choose . Numerous legal and moral philosophers have suggested that privacy is valued because it satisfies a number of primary human needs.

    The Right to Privacy in the USA

    In the U.S.A., the common law did not recognize any right to privacy. So, courts in the United States did not consider privacy as a right to be protected until the eve of the twentieth century. The need for a law to protect privacy was articulated as early as 1890 when an article titled The Right to Privacy was published by Warren and Brandies in Harvard Law Review . This article laid the foundation of privacy right in the USA. Though there were hundreds of cases related to right to privacy came to the courts, the first higher American court to deal with the right to privacy was a New York appellate court in 1902 in Roberson v. Rochester Folding Box Co . Chief Justice Parker in that case said:
    in that defendants had invaded what is called a 'right of privacy'--in other words, the right to be let alone. Mention of such a right is not to be found in Blackstone, Kent or any other of the great commentators upon the law, nor so far as the learning of counsel or the courts in this case have been able to discover, does its existence seem to have been asserted prior to about the year 1890, when it was presented with attractiveness and no inconsiderable ability in the Harvard Law Review (Vol. IV, page 193) in an article entitled, 'The Right of Privacy.'

    The so-called right of privacy is, as the phrase suggests, founded upon the claim that a man has the right to pass through this world, if he wills, without having his picture published, his business enterprises discussed, his successful experiments written up for the benefit of others, or his eccentricities commented upon either in handbills, circulars, catalogues, periodicals or newspapers, and, necessarily, that the things which may not be written and published of him must not be spoken of him by his neighbors, whether the comment be favorable or otherwise.

    The most well-known American cases on privacy are Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade. In Griswold the constitutionality of a law which prohibited the use of contraceptives was challenged. Upholding the notion of privacy, Justice Douglas held:
    "... governmental purpose to control or prevent activities constitutionally subject to State regulation may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms'. (NAACP v. Alabama ) Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives? The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship."

    Striking down the legislation as an unconstitutional invasion of the right to marital privacy, it was held that the right of freedom of speech and the press includes not only the right to utter or to print but also to distribute, receive and read and that without those peripheral rights, the specific right would be endangered.

    Roe v. Wade dealt with the right of an unmarried pregnant woman to an abortion. Upholding the woman's right to make that choice which affected her private life, the Supreme Court held that although the American Constitution did not explicitly mention any right of privacy, the Supreme Court itself recognized such a right as a guarantee of certain "zones or areas of privacy" and "that the roots of that right may be found in the First Amendment, in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, in the penumbras of the Bill of Rights and in the concept of liberty guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment ".

    Also Restatement (Second) of Torts 652A (1977) laid down general principal of and definition of Invasion of Privacy.

    (1) One who invades the right of privacy of another is subject to liability for the resulting harm to the interests of the other.
    (2) The right of privacy is invaded by
    a) Unreasonable intrusion upon the seclusion of another, as stated in 652B; or,
    b) Appropriation of the other's name or likeness, as stated in 652C; or
    c) Unreasonable publicity given to the other's private life, as stated in 652D; or
    d) Publicity that unreasonably places the other in a false light before the public, as stated in 652E

    The Right to Privacy in India

    The right to privacy in India has derived itself from essentially two sources: the common law of torts and the constitutional law In common law, a private action for damages for unlawful invasion of privacy is maintainable. The printer and publisher of a journal, magazine or book are liable in damages if they publish any matter concerning the private life of the individual without such person's consent. There are two exceptions to this rule: first, that the right to privacy does not survive once the publication is a matter of public record and, second, when the publication relates to the discharge of the official duties of a public servant, an action is not maintainable unless the publication is proved to be false, malicious or is in reckless disregard for truth.

    In India, the Constitution does not expressly recognize the right to privacy. The concept of privacy as a fundamental right first evolved in 1964 in the case of Kharak Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh. The Supreme Court, for the first time, recognized that there is a right of privacy implicit in the Indian Constitution under Article 21 . The Court held that the Right to Privacy is an integral part of the Right to Life, but with out any clear cut laws, it still remains in the grey area.

    In Kharak Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh, Supreme Court of India struck down Regulation which authorized domiciliary visits as being unconstitutional but upheld the other provisions of surveillance under that Regulation. Their view was based on the conclusion that the infringement of a fundamental right must be both direct as well as tangible and that the freedom guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) - a right to freedom of speech and expression - was not infringed by a watch being kept over the movements of a suspect. At that time court did not recognize the right of privacy.

    But in Gobind v. State of M.P, also a case of surveillance, the Supreme Court, while upholding the regulation in question which authorized domiciliary visits by security personal, also held ... Depending on the character and antecedents of the person subjected to surveillance as also the objects and the limitation under which surveillance is made, it cannot be said surveillance by domiciliary visits would always be unreasonable restriction upon the right of privacy. Assuming that the fundamental rights explicitly guaranteed to a citizen have penumbral zones and that the right to privacy is itself a fundamental right, that fundamental right must be subject to restriction on the basis of compelling public interest...

    An encroachment upon one's privacy is only shielded if the offender is the state and not a private entity. If the offender is a private individual then there is no effective remedy except in tort where one can claim damages for intruding in his privacy and no more. In R.Rajagopal v State of TN (1994) the Supreme Court held that the right to privacy is a right to be let alone. None can publish anything concerning the above matters without his consent, whether truthful or otherwise and whether laudatory or critical. If he does so, he would be violating the right to privacy of the person concerned and would be liable in an action for damages.
    3. Privacy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Fight between Civil Rights Right of privacy is the right to be let alone but no right is absolute. Every personal right has its own limitation for public safety and national security. There must be some checks and balance.

    At least since their appearance in Western Europe in the late fifteenth century , sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or venereal diseases as they were once called , have been characterized by a remarkable paradox. Despite their endemic nature in Europe and North America, STDs were and still are a Secret Malady. Persons have endeavored to keep their sexually transmitted infections hidden from the social world from their sexual partners, families, and communities. At the same time, prevailing social mores have kept STDs from the public consciousness and consequently have prevented STDs from receiving public action and effective intervention. The most venerable position in STDs is of life partner of infected person. From its origins in the practice to control the disease, partner notification has been motivated by the moral imperative to notify and to protect persons who are unaware of their risk of STD exposure. Infected persons (and, to a certain extent, public health authorities) questioned the theories of disclosure and protection that justified partner notification because it cost to individuals in loss of privacy and discrimination. Disclosure of such record can result in discrimination of their family and friends too.

    Infected persons has right of privacy, but partners of infected persons too is at health risk. The partners of infected persons have an equally powerful claim of right to know or right to information. The right to know developed from the social movement of the early 1900s. It developed under tort law that held that a person has a duty of care toward his sexual partner. Under the tort concept duty is a legal obligation to conform to a certain standard of conduct towards another person. This duty makes an obligation to disclose an STD to a sexual partner or to protect the partner from avoidable health risks.

    In the United States, many laws passed and enforced to protect infected persons and also to protect other people from infected persons. Federal legislation such as the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(1)-(3), (6) (1994), which requires federal agencies to utilize fair information practices with regard to the collection, use, or dissemination of systematized records, and the Freedom of Information Act of 1966 ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. 552 (1994), which exempts from governmental disclosure several categories of records, which include health information.

    In Doe v. Borough of Barrington, 729 F.Supp. 376 (D.N.J.,1990) the court held that a police office violated constitutional right of privacy by disclosing that a person was infected with HIV. The facts of this case is as follows:
    Jane Doe, her husband and friend, were traveling in the plaintiff's truck when police officer of Borough of Barrington (Barrington) stopped the truck and questioned the occupants. Police officer arrested them and than release Jane Doe and her friend from custody but detained Jane Doe's husband on charges of unlawful possession of hypodermic needle . When he was initially arrested, Jane Doe's husband (the plaintiff) told the police officer that he had tested HIV positive and therefore officers should be careful in searching him.

    Later on the same day Jane Doe and her friend drove her friend's car to the Doe residence. The car engine was left running, and the car apparently slipped into gear, rolling down the driveway into a neighbor's fence. Two police officers from Runnemede, the area where later incident happen (Runnemede), Steven Van Camp and one of the defendant Russell Smith, responded to the radio call about the incident. While they were at the scene, Detective Preen of the Barrington police arrived and, in a private conversation with Van Camp, revealed that Jane Doe's husband had been arrested earlier in the day and had told Barrington police officers that he had AIDS. Van Camp then told defendant Smith.

    After Jane Doe and her friend left the immediate vicinity, defendant Smith told the defendant neighbor that Jane Doe's husband had AIDS and that, to protect herself, she should wash with disinfectant. Defendant became upset upon hearing this information. Neighbor's wife, one of the defendants (defendant neighbor), was employee in the school where children of plaintiff were studying. Knowing that the four Doe children attending the Downing School in Runnemede, the same school that her own daughter attending, defendant neighbor contacted other parents with children in the school. She also contacted the media. The next day, eleven parents removed nineteen children from the Downing School due to a panic over the Doe children's attending the school. The media was present, and the story was covered in the local newspapers and on television. At least one of the reports mentioned the name of the Doe family. Plaintiffs allege that as a result of the disclosure, they have suffered harassment, discrimination, and humiliation. They allege they have been shunned by the community.

    Plaintiffs brought this civil rights action against the police officer Smith and the municipalities of Barrington and Runnemede for violations of their federal constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 (1982) (Civil action for deprivation of rights). The federal constitutional right is their right to privacy under the fourteenth amendment. The suit contains pendent state claims against defendant neighbor for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
    The court upholding privacy right finds that the constitution protects plaintiffs from government disclosure of their husband's infection with the AIDS virus. The court cited United States Supreme Court decision in Whalen v. Roe, 429 U.S. 589, 599-600 (1977) stating the Court has recognized that the fourteenth amendment protects two types of privacy interest One is the individual interest in avoiding disclosure of personal matters, and another is the interest in independence in making certain kinds of important decisions. The court said that disclosure of a family member's medical condition, especially exposure to or infection with the AIDS virus, is a disclosure of a personal matter.

    The court finds that defendants police officer Smith and district administration of Runnemede violated plaintiff's constitutional right to privacy and administration's failure to train their official about AIDS and that defendants are liable under 42 U.S.C. 1983 (1982) (Civil action for deprivation of rights).

    In Chizmar v. Mackie, 896 P.2d 196 (Alaska 1995) the Supreme Court of Alaska refused to hold a physician liable for breach of confidentiality after informing a patient's spouse of her condition without her authorization.

    The facts of this case as follows:
    Savitri Chizmar, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, has lived in the United States since 1980. She was married to Matthew Chizmar. There were two children of this marriage, aged five and seven at the time of the events in question. In February 1989 Savitri was admitted to Providence Hospital, suffering from pneumonia and gastritis. Dr. Scott Mackie was the admitting physician. Upon her admission, Matthew signed the hospital's standard admission consent form on his wife's behalf, because she was "too sick" for the paperwork. This form states that the patient consents to procedures that may be performed during hospitalization, including laboratory procedures.

    While at Providence, Dr. Mackie ordered that a battery of laboratory tests be run on Savitri's blood. As part of this testing, Savitri was tested for HIV/AIDS, using the HIV ELISA screen. Dr. Mackie did not discuss with Savitri the specific tests that were being run and did not inform Savitri that he was testing her for AIDS.
    Savitri's initial HIV ELISA screen was found to be "repeatedly reactive." The report stated that confirmatory tests were being performed and that "[n]o interpretation of the patient's HIV antibody status is possible until the confirmatory assay has been completed." Dr. Mackie believed that this result meant that Savitri had tested positive for the HIV virus. Dr. Mackie felt that it was necessary to advise Savitri of the result quickly.

    Initially, however, he did not inform Savitri of his conclusion. Instead, he decided to ask her husband to help break the news to her.

    Several days after Matthew and Dr. Mackie informed Savitri of the test result, Dr. Janis, an HIV specialist, examined and interviewed Savitri. Dr. Janis concluded that the test result was most likely a "false positive" and testified that he was confident that he had so informed Savitri. Dr. Mackie testified that, prior to Savitri's discharge, he informed her that the test was probably a "false positive" and that she would need to be retested to make sure.

    Savitri left the hospital on the day she was informed of the test result. From that point forward, she and her husband experienced a severe escalation of what had been periodic domestic problems and violence. They fought regularly and, on at least one occasion, Matthew allegedly beat Savitri. The fighting further escalated after Matthew tested negative for HIV.

    Three weeks after her discharge, Savitri and her husband reviewed her medical records. Included within these records was the discharge summary, which expressly stated "False positive HIV test." The records also included a notation from Dr. Janis concluding that it was likely that the HIV test was a false positive test. Subsequently, in April, a retest established that Savitri did not have AIDS.

    Matthew left the marital home in May 1989 and two months after Savitri received the final test result establishing that she did not have AIDS, he filed for divorce in June. The divorce became final in March 1990. After the divorce, Matthew moved to California.

    Savitri, individually and on behalf of her children , filed suit against Dr. Mackie. In her personal action, she alleged that Dr. Mackie did not have Savitri's informed consent to conduct the initial HIV/AIDS test. She also alleged that Dr. Mackie breached his duty of confidentiality owed to Savitri by informing her husband of the test results. The complaint asserted that, as a result of Dr. Mackie's negligence and breach of duty, she suffered damages, including severe emotional distress. Savitri later amended her complaint to encompass Dr. Mackie's allegedly negligent misdiagnosis of AIDS.

    In his answer, Dr. Mackie admitted that the initial HIV test was performed without specific consent and that he informed Matthew of the test results. In September 1991, the superior court, Judge Hunt, entered partial summary judgment in favor of Savitri on the issue of Dr. Mackie's breach of the duty of confidentiality. However, the court concluded that questions of fact remained as to whether Dr. Mackie's breach was justified.

    The case went to the Supreme Court of Alaska. On the issue of right to privacy the court held that the constitutional right to privacy is a right against government action, not against the actions of private parties . Thus, to the extent her argument is based on the Alaska Constitution, her claim must fail. The court also reasoned that Savitri also fails to present a persuasive argument under common law invasion of privacy principles. There are four branches of the common law right to privacy, as recognized in the Restatement (Second) of Torts 652A-E, at 376 (1977). None of these sections can be read to support Savitri's claim in the present case.

    Further the court justified its stand by citing a case MacDonald v. Clinger, 446 N.Y.S.2d 801, state that ?Disclosure of confidential information ... to a spouse will be justified whenever there is a danger to the patient, the spouse, or another person; otherwise information should not be disclosed without authorization. Justification or excuse will depend upon a showing of circumstances and competing interests which support the need to disclose. The court also relied on a case holding that a doctor, having diagnosed an illness, may be liable for failure to warn patient's family members . Also Wojcik v. Aluminum Co. of America, holding that a physician had a duty to warn the spouse of a patient diagnosed with tuberculosis where there was a foreseeable risk that the spouse would be exposed to the disease.

    In India, the Supreme Court got a chance for first time to decide privacy issue in connection with STD in 1998. Like USA, India too has laws that protect patient for disclosure of his/her medical information. Indian Medical Council Act controls the medical education and regulates the professional conduct. The council created under the act has power to make regulation and code of ethics regarding it. One of the ethics is not to disclose the secrets of a patient to anybody without orders of courts.

    In Mr.X v. Hospital Z, (1998) 8 SCC 296 the Supreme Court of India concluded that right of privacy is not absolute.
    The Court also said that a person infected of STD have no right to marry. The Facts of the case as follows:
    Mr. X, the appellant, after obtained the Degree of MBBS in 1987 from Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research Chandigarh completed his internship and junior residence at the same college. In June, 1990 he joined the Nagaland State Medical and Health Service as Assistant Surgeon Grade "I. Thereafter, the appellant joined the MD Pharmacology Course though he continued in the Nagaland State Service on the condition that he would resume his duties after completing the MD Course. In September, 1991 the appellant jointed the further course of Diploma in Opthamalogy which he completed in April, 1993. In August, 1993 he resumed his duties in the Nagaland State Health service as Assistant Surgeon Grade" I.

    One who was ailing from a disease which was provisionally diagnosed as Aortic Anuerism was advised to go to the ?Z? Hospital at Madras and the appellant was directed by the Government of Nagaland to accompany the said patient to Madras for treatment. For the treatment of the above disease, he was posted for surgery on May 31, 1995 which, however, was cancelled due to shortage of blood. On June 1, 1995 the appellant and the driver were asked to donate blood for the latter. Their blood samples were taken and the result showed that the appellant's blood group was A(+ve). On the next date, namely, on June 2, 1995, he was operated for Aortic Anuerism and remained in the Hospital till 10th June 1995 when he was discharged.

    In August 1995 the appellant proposed marriage to one Ms. ?Y? which was accepted and the marriage were proposed to be held on December 12, 1995. But the marriage was called off on the ground of blood test conducted at the respondents? hospital in which the appellant was found to be HIV(+). The appellant went against to the respondents? hospital at Madras where several tests were conducted and he was found to be HIV(+). Since the marriage had been settled but was subsequently called off, several people including the members of the appellant's family and persons belonging to his community became aware of the appellant's HIV(+) status. This resulted in severe criticism of the appellant and he was ostracized by the community. The appellant left Kohima (Nagaland) around November 26, 1995 and started working and residing at Madras.

    The appellant then approached the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission for damages against the respondents, on the ground that the information which was required to be kept secret under Medical ethics was disclosed illegally and, therefore, the respondents were liable to pay damages. The Commission dismissed the Petition as also the application for interim relief summarily by order dated 3rd July 1998 on the ground that the appellant may seek his remedy in the civil court.

    Learned counsel for the appellant has vehemently contended that the principle of "duty of care", as applicable to persons in medical profession, includes the duty to maintain confidentiality and since this duty was violated by the respondents, they are liable in damages to the appellant.

    Duty to maintain confidentiality has its origin in the Hippocratic Oath, which is an ethical code attributed to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, adopted as a guide to conduct by the medical profession throughout the ages and still used in the graduation ceremonies of many medical schools and colleges in India. The Hippocratic Oath consists of two parts. The first, or covenant, is the solemn agreement concerning the relationship of apprentice to teacher and the obligations enjoined on the pupil. The second part constitutes the ethical code.

    It is on the basis of the above that International Code of Medical Ethics has been laid down as: "A Physician shall preserve absolute confidentiality on all he knows about his patient even after his patient has died."
    Learned counsel for the appellant also directed courts direction to the code of medical ethics made by Medical Council of India. It states that Do not disclose the secrets of a patient that have been learnt in the exercise of your profession. Those may be disclosed only in a Court of Law under orders of the presiding judge.

    The Court delivering its opinion said that It is the basic principle of Jurisprudence that every Right has a co-relative Duty and every Duty has a co-relative Right. But the rule is not absolute. It is subject to certain exceptions in the sense that a person may have a Right but there may not be co-relative duty. The instant case, as we shall presently see, falls within the exceptions. The Court further stated that Circumstances in which the public interest would override the duty of confidentiality could, for example, be the investigation and prosecution of serious crime or where there is an immediate or future (but not a past and remote) health risk to others.

    Learned Counsel for the appellant then contended that the appellant's right of privacy has been infringed by the respondents by disclosing that the appellant was HIV(+) and, therefore, they are liable in damages.

    The Court after referring US case, Roe vs. Wade, 410 US 113, and Article of the European Convention on Human Rights said that "As one of the basic Human Rights, the right of privacy is not treated as absolute and is subject to such action as may be lawfully taken for the prevention of crime or disorder or protection of health or morals or protections of rights and freedoms of others"

    The Court having regard to the fact that the appellant was found to be HIV(+), its disclosure would not be violate of either the rule of confidentiality of the appellant's Right of Privacy as Ms. Y with whom the appellant was likely to be married was saved in time by such disclosure, or else, she too would have been infected with the dreadful disease if marriage had taken place and consummated.

    The Court went further and examined the right based on confidentiality in the context of marriage. The Court after examine different divorce law and Indian Penal Code ruled that right to marry of STD infected person is suspended during the time of infection or disease. Most of the divorce laws in India recognize STD as reason for divorce. Indian Penal Code Section 269 and 270 provides punishment for spreading infection of disease dangerous to life, intentionally or negligently. Though in 2002 on public interest litigation the Court restore the right to marry of a person with STD infection. But the Court imposes the duty on those who know their HIV or STD status to obtain informed consent from their spouse, before marriage remains.

    4 Conclusion
    The branch of this law is not much developed in India as much as in the United States of America, but the Supreme Court of India had looked for how different country's court decided the issue. Also we have to keep in mind the social aspect of Indian culture that discourages people to come forward for their rights in such circumstance. Social culture of India will not allow right to privacy as broad as in the USA.

    In context of STD law of both the country upheld right to information of spouse against right of privacy of STD infected person. In both the jurisdiction duty is imposed on infected person to inform and protect other people from his disease. Right to Privacy emerged from common law and tort law in both the country; therefore there are substantive similarities in cases decided on the issue.

    In both the country right to privacy is a right against government action, not against the actions of private parties. If the offender is a private individual then there is no effective remedy except in tort where one can claim damages for intruding in his privacy and no more. And tort law establishes duty on STD infected person to disclose the disease to those persons who are at risk. In both countries (also in Britain) the right to privacy is not an absolute right. Privacy right weighted less in comparison to health risk and national security.

    While maintaining right to know of their life partner and future spouse, Supreme Court of India, implemented right of privacy of infected persons against public at large, by not disclosing, identity and even name of the parties involved. Infect Supreme Court of India derived this system, of not disclosing name in case laws, from Britain.

    Supreme Court of India, until now, did not consider right to information of family members of infected person about his or her disease, but in my view Supreme Court of India, whenever case comes before the Court, will upheld right to information of family members of infected person. In recent years some Indian states have make it mandatory for both future spouse to have their HIV test before their marriage.

    There are laws in the United States of America that put obligation on infected persons to inform their spouse and family about disease. But I could not found any case law from US Courts which upheld right to know of STD infection of future spouse. In my opinion it is matter of time when such case will knock the door of the court and the courts of US will uphold their right to know too.

    5 Developments in right to privacy and abortion. In one interesting development in connection with Gender Equality and the Privacy issue related to Abortion, men's rights activists in the US is going to court for and on a behalf of a man, named Matt Dubay from Detroit, who says his ex-girlfriend had his child after telling him she could not get pregnant. They are to argue in court that fathers do not have an obligation to pay money towards raising a child they did not want.
    The landmark case of Roe v. Wade dealt with the right of an unmarried pregnant woman to an abortion. Upholding the woman's right to make that choice which affected her private life, the Supreme Court held that although the American Constitution did not explicitly mention any right of privacy, the Supreme Court itself recognized such a right as a guarantee of certain "zones or areas of privacy" and "that the roots of that right may be found in the First Amendment, in the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, in the penumbras of the Bill of Rights and in the concept of liberty guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment ".

    Activists say men should have the same rights as women in dealing with the consequences of unintended pregnancy.

    Women's and children's groups have criticized the planned legal challenge. Leslie Sorkhe, of the Association for Children for Enforcement of Support, said a child "needs the emotional and financial support of both parents".

    "The child is entitled to his or her equal protection under the law," the website of The Detroit News quotes her as saying.

    Mr Dubay says that his former girlfriend became pregnant with his child after assuring him she had a physical condition that prevented her from conceiving. He says she went on have the baby, despite knowing that he did not want to have a child with her.

    He now wants the court to free him from his obligation to pay $500 (287) in child support every month. The National Center for Men is filing a case on behalf of Mr Dubay at a court in the US city of Detroit.

    The center's director, Mel Feit, told the Associated Press news agency: "There's such a spectrum of choice that women have - it's her body, her pregnancy and she has the ultimate right to make decisions. I'm trying to find a way for a man also to have some say over decisions that affect his life profoundly".

    In political spectrum things has changed a lot in past decade. Many states, like Tennessee and South Dakota, have introduced a bill and many are considering introducing the bill to restrict abortion.

    In the recent past, the politics of abortion have essentially been turned upside down: Republicans are shying away from the issue and Democrats are eager to take it on. Republicans have been on the offense when it comes to the issue of abortion. Pressing a series of popular restrictions, Republicans have painted Democrats as extreme protectors of abortion at any point in pregnancy. But with a dozen states now considering bills to ban abortion outright, this year it's Democrats who are taking the offensive, saying Republicans are the ones whose views on abortion are extreme.

    Books Sources
    1. Adam Carlyle Breckenridge: The Right to Privacy
    2. Richard A. Glenn: The Right to Privacy ? Rights and Liberties under the Law
    3. All India Reporter Computer Sources
    6. Supreme Court Cases Online (Indian Source)
    7. Oxford Talking Dictionary
    8. ?The Right to Privacy in the Age of Information and Communications by by Madhavi Divan
    9. HIV/AIDS in the courts - International
    12. National Public Radio online edition
    13. British Broadcasting Corporation online edition

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