[Summary] Because privacy enjoys an abundance of meanings, it is claimed in diverse situations every day by everyone against other people, society, and the state. Traditionally traced to classical liberalism’s public/private divide, there are now several theoretical conceptions of privacy that collaborate and sometimes contend. Indian privacy law is evolving in response to four types of privacy claims: against the press, against state surveillance, for decisional autonomy, and in relation to personal information. The Indian Supreme Court has selectively borrowed competing foreign privacy norms, primarily American, to create an unconvincing pastiche of privacy law in India. These developments are undermined by a lack of theoretical clarity and the continuing tension between individual freedoms and communitarian values.
[Description] Under the Information Technology Act, 2000, State Governments are required to appoint Adjudicating Officers to handle certain types of disputes, and some of these powers bear upon the issue of privacy in electronic communications and of electronic records. One such Adjudicating Officer in the State of Maharashtra has deftly adjudicated disputes to successfully negotiate and uphold the right to privacy. This post examines three of his cases, which deal with privacy rights in emails and chat transcripts, and in certain financial information such as bank statements and credit card data.