The Chhattisgarh High Court overturned a family court’s order and ruled that recording a mobile phone conversation of a person without his/her knowledge was a violation of privacy.
Bilaspur: The Chhattisgarh High Court on Saturday stated that secretly recording phone conversation of a person without his/her knowledge is a violation of the right to privacy which falls under Article 21. As a result, the court has overturned a family court’s decision. The Court noted that the husband’s act of recording his wife’s phone conversations without her consent is a breach of her right to privacy and the right of the petitioner guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The HC ruled it while hearing a petition filed by a woman challenging a family court’s decision to grant her husband’s application in an ongoing maintenance case pending since 2019. The 38-year-woman had moved the application for a grant of maintenance from her 44-year-old husband in the family court in Mahasamund district.
The husband moved to the family court, requesting a re-examination of his wife, citing a recorded conversations on a smartphone. He wanted to cross-examine the woman and confront her with the recorded conversation.
In an order dated October 21, 2021, the family court allowed the man’s application. Subsequently, in the year 2022, the woman challenged family court’s decision by approaching the High Court, said her lawyer, Vaibhav A. Goverdhan.
The man tried to prove to the family court, through the recorded mobile conversations, that his wife was committing adultery, hence, he need not to have to pay her the maintenance once they are divorced, he stated.
During the hearing of the case in the high court, the petitioner’s counsel stated that the family court had committed an error of law by allowing the husband’s application as it infringed on the right of privacy of the woman and the conversation was recorded and without her knowledge, hence and the same cannot be used against her.
The counsel also quoted some earlier judgments passed by the Supreme Court and the High Court of Madhya Pradesh.
On October 5, High Court Justice Rakesh Mohan Pandey overturned the verdict of the family court.
“It appears that the respondent (husband) has recorded the conversation of the petitioner (wife) without her knowledge behind her back which amounts to the violation of her right to privacy and also the right of the petitioner guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” the HC noted.
“Further, the right of privacy is an essential component of the right to life envisaged by Article 21. Therefore, in the opinion of this court, the learned family court has committed an error of law in allowing the application under Section 311 of the CrPC along with the certificate issued under Section 65 of the Indian Evidence Act. Accordingly, the order passed by the learned family court is hereby set aside,” it added.