HIV/AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease that has stigma attached to it in our country. It is a violation of the right to privacy guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution through various judicial pronouncements if any hospital reveals the identity of the patient and nature of his/her disease to any third party without the permission of the patient.
Under Article 21, Supreme Court has also guaranteed the right to public health through judicial pronouncement. Under the right to public health, the state must ensure protection to the people from the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country. When a person marries, it should be his/her right to know if his/her partner is suffering from such sexually transmitted disease or not. The state cannot deny that person’s right to health to protect the right of privacy of the person suffering from the disease.
To make an informed choice, they must get the right to information as a constitutionally guaranteed right. It has also discussed how the right to information is a fundamental factor for a democratic country. Supreme Court has pronounced in judgment that Article 19(1)(a) which talks about the right to freedom of speech and expression also includes the right to information.
When Court guarantees two distinct rights to the people which are contradictory to each other, the judiciary must strike out a balance between the two. Whether public interest overshadows the Right to privacy guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. We will refer to international law or principle to decide on the choice between the right to privacy and the right to know. If we want that right to health and information should be kept above the right to privacy, we need legislation governing this to protect the public right. The need is to create a fine balance between both rights.