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Equivalent Citation:

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Writ Petition (Civil) No. 176 of 2009 and I.A. No. 1 of 2009 [Under Article 32 of the Constitution
of India]

Ram Jethmalani and Ors.


Vs.
Union of India (UOI) and Ors.

(JT2011(7)SC104, 2011 (3) KLT(SN) 47, 2011(3)RCR(Civil)643,


2011(3)RCR(Criminal)480, 2011(6)SCALE691, (2011)8SCC1, 2011(4)UJ2237(SC))

Decided On: 04.07.2011

Case Note:

Right to Information Unaccounted monies issue Disclosure of documents referenced


by Union of India (UOI) Denial of information on the ground of infringing Right to
privacy on individuals concerned Held, right to privacy is an integral part of right to life,
a cherished constitutional value Revelation of bank account details of individuals, without
establishment of prima facie grounds to accuse them of wrong doing, would be a violation of
their rights to privacy Mere fact that a citizen has a bank account in a bank located in a
particular jurisdiction cannot be a ground for revelation of details of his or her account that
the State has acquired State cannot compel citizens to reveal, or itself reveal details of
their bank accounts to the public at large, either to receive benefits from the State or to
facilitate investigations, and prosecutions of such individuals, unless the State itself has,
through properly conducted investigations, within the four corners of constitutional
permissibility, been able to establish prima facie grounds to accuse the individuals of wrong
doing It is only after the State has been able to arrive at a prima facie conclusion of wrong
doing, based on material evidence, would the rights of others in the nation to be informed
comes into play and proceedings initiated may be disclosed.

Ratio Decidendi:
Right to privacy is an integral part of right to life, a cherished constitutional value and it is
important that human beings be allowed domains of freedom that are free of public scrutiny
unless they act in an unlawful manner. Revelation of bank account details of individuals,
without establishment of prima facie grounds to accuse them of wrong doing, would be a
violation of their rights to privacy. State cannot compel citizens to reveal, or itself reveal
details of their bank accounts to the public at large, either to receive benefits from the State or
to facilitate investigations, and prosecutions of such individuals, unless the State itself has,
through properly conducted investigations, within the four corners of constitutional
permissibility.