The Constitution of India encompasses Right to Privacy under Article 21, which is a requisite of right to life and personal liberty. Privacy is something that deals with individual privacy and also which was needed to be protected earlier before the passing of a landmark case, i.e., K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India in 2017 as it was, previously, not considered a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution. However, our Indian judiciary has, at present, carved out a distinctive precinct regarding privacy and an upshot of that is Right to Privacy, it is, now, recognized as a fundamental right, which is intrinsic under Article 21.
When we are speaking about Privacy we have to first understand the four different dimensions with respect to privacy.They are:
1.Right to be alone:The right of living a peaceful life without the interference of government or private organisations into your private life.
2.Control of personal information:breach to this can be done through to 2 ways , they are
a]Government:For example government of India collects the personal data of the citizens through Aadhar to ensure provision of security and subsidies to its people.However , when there is leak of information from the respective government departments , there can be a severe breach of privacy of the people.
b]Private:People use social media platforms like facebook and they provide personal information to it( like their names, birthdays, hobbies , tastes ,photos etc…)which is inreturn given to the advertising companies.Sharing or selling of search engine database is one of the violations of right to privacy.
3.Privacy of Body: This is again done in two ways ,
a]Medical information: when the medical institutions like hospitals and diagnostic centres share or sell the information about a particular or a group of patients to others without the consent of the patient.
b]Intimate information:when the intimate photos or videos of a person are shared to others without their consent either by his/her partner or by a third party member.
4.Private communication:Eavesdropping into one’s conversations over phone or other medias either by government(without warrant) or by private player.
From observing the above dimensions of privacy ,we can clearly understand that privacy of people is being breached and leading to serious aftermaths under the global pandemic distress.
During this COVID-19 pandemic the medical information of the affected patients is being disclosed to the public in a view to ensure physical distance and take precautionary steps.However , the affected patients are going into trauma and committing suicides even after getting cured due to the mistreatment(during treatment) and societal isolation(even after getting cured).
To curb the public stigmas and to uphold the betterment of public psychological and emotional health ,the government should take steps like, a]conducting awareness programmes for ensuring humane treatment of the affected patients and b]provision of at least a couple of sittings with mental health doctors for cured patients to ensure their emotional stability.We have to remember that right to privacy can’t be breached even under a pandemic situation if there is a probability of possible trauma and suicides or public unrest (whether physical or emotional).