Saturday, May 14, 2011

Amar Singh and Privacy

Supreme Court has vacated the stay on the telecast of Amar Singh recorded phone conversations. They are damaging to the speakers and far more embarrassing for the listeners.

This brings fore the issue of right to privacy. Should for any reason, under any circumstances, a private person be allowed to record personal conversations of another person/s? The answer according to me is NO. After illegal recording, making it public is sinister and dangerous.

Privacy is sacrosanct; it should be protected by all means. To me it is a fundamental right of life. I will be dead if my personal space, movement and conversations are opened for public consumption.

There is a case against privacy for larger public interest. No right is absolute, is conditioned by larger interest of the society, even in a democracy.

Now the moot question is: who gets to decide when to put whom under surveillance under what circumstances? This function cannot be delegated to a private person. It is, to me, has to be exclusively a sovereign function, be used rarely under unavoidable circumstances. It should never become a tool (this cannot be made abuse-proof) in the hands of government for purposes of voyeurism, for personal reasons. This is an issue that needs to be handled with sensitivity.

To be fair to Amar Singh, he is a victim. But tapes don’t reveal anything that comes as a surprise about him.

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