Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves, and the selective revealing of the information. This article aims to discuss the right to privacy, and how it can be protected.
Right to Privacy
The right to privacy is protected for under section 37 of the 1999 constitution which protects the privacy of individuals and their families. Also, Article 12 of the UDHR also includes the protection of the right to family life. Similar to the provision of the Constitution, is Article 17 of the ICCPR which guarantees the right to private and family life. The statutory provisions mentioned, show how protected and well-guarded the right to privacy is.
The extent to how fundamental this right is can be seen in the Indian case of Govind v. State of M.P, the court confirmed that the right to privacy is a fundamental right. The right was said to include and protect personal intimacies of the home, marriage, family, motherhood, etc. but it also observed that it was subject to “compelling state subject”. Also, in the American case of Loving v. Virginia, the Virginia law against interracial marriages was struck down, with the Court once again declaring that marriage is a “fundamental civil right” and that decisions in this arena are not those with which the State can interfere unless they have good cause.
How to protect the Right to Privacy
The right to privacy, it must be noted, although enshrined in the Constitution, is not well respected like all other rights. It must be noted that the right to privacy does not stand alone. Rather, it is linked with all other rights, like the right to personal liberty, and even the right to life, as held by the court in the case of R. Rajagopal v. Union of India, where the apex court said that the right is a part of the right of a person to personal liberty that is guaranteed under the Constitution. It further recognized that the right to privacy can be both an actionable claim and also a fundamental right.
- Enactment of Laws: it is imperative that the law makers make laws that would make the privacy of individuals paramount. Privacy laws would guarantee individuals to be able to make their decisions alone, and also help decide what information should be made public.
- Enforcement of the Laws: it is one thing to make laws, another to enforce the laws. Therefore, it is essential that laws are enforced by the appropriate bodies to make it practicable.
- Public enlightenment: it is important to enlighten the public about the need to respect the privacy of other people, and not disturb them. Most people infringe on this right, without any idea of what they are doing, and an enlightenment will help.
Protecting the rights of citizens is paramount to any government. Thus, more should be done to make sure that this right is not infringed on by any party, the government inclusive.
Ayomide ‘Toba Eribake is a 400 level student of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos. He is a Sports Law enthusiast, and also has interests in Human Rights, ADR. He also loves researching and reading various subjects of interest.