Conflict between two Fundamental Rights
1) In cases when there is a clash between two Fundamental Rights, what stand should the courts take?
2) Would this stance change if both the conflicting Fundamental Rights arise from the same Article 21 i.e. Right to Life?
Right to life.. Right to privacy..
• In X vs Z hospital, Mr. X was HIV positive and the same was informed to his fiance. The marriage was called off due to the same. The petitioner moved to the court alleging that the hospital has wongfully disclosed the information.
• The court said, every spouse has a right to health and life and this prov extends to even before marriage.
• the person suffering from such communicable disease cannot marry until and unless he is cured.
• On the issue of confidentiality: the court noted that public interest would override the duty of confidentiality, particularly where there is an immediate or future health risk to others.
• Right of privacy is not treated as absolute and limits may be placed on these rights so long there is a compelling state interest and such action as may be lawfully taken when the health or morals or protection of rights and freedom of others are at stake. Thus, on this basis, the court concluded that having regard to the fact that the appellant was found to be HIV positive, its disclosure would not be violative of either the rule of confidentiality or the appellant’s right of privacy as Ms. ‘Y’ had a greater interest in knowing about her potential husband’s medical condition than any individual claim of privacy.
• From the above case, we can conclude that whenever there’s a clash between two fundamental rights (in our case Right to health and right to privacy, both arising from Art 21) public interest is prioritised and the court’s order is directed for the welfare of general public.