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Safeguarding Privacy: Kharak Singh And State Surveillance

The question raised in the petition was that, Whether Chapter 22 of UP Regulations infringes Fundamental Rights under Article 19 and Article 21?[3]

Summary of Dissenting Opinion
Kharak Singh vs State of UP
Writ Petition No. 856 of 1961[1]
December 18, 1962[2]

The Supreme Court raised the following questions:
  • Whether surveillance under Chapter 22 of UP Regulation infringes any citizen's fundamental rights guaranteed under part III of Indian Constitution?[4]
  • Whether the Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right?[5]

Analysis Of Dissenting Opinion
The Supreme Court held that when whereabouts of a person is unknown, attempts made to track his whereabouts don't amount to stalking. However, Justice Rao also focused on psychological impact of surveillance/stalking upon the targets.

Stalking is imbibed under Section 354D of IPC[6]. Measuring the amount of compensation for restoring victim back to its original position, which he was enjoying before the occurrence of act, is important. But it is difficult to measure mental injury.

The majority opinion holds that petition is partly allowed and Regulation 236(b), authorizing domiciliary visits, is struck down as it violates Art.21 of Indian Constitution (entitling Petitioner to issue Mandamus against Respondent) because life and liberty is beyond the sphere of physical restraints and bonds of prison  Art.20(3) of Constitution[7] prohibits self-incrimination.

The crux derived from dissent is as follows:
  • Privacy Rights are physical and psychological rights.
  • Regulation 236 is unconstitutional in its entirety as it infringes Art.19(1)(d) and Art.21.
  • Pertinently, judgment is not unanimously agreed upon.

  1. SCC OnLine SC 10.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. The Indian Penal Code, 1860.
  7. Ibid.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Anamika Tyagi
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: AP410437754573-13-0424

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