Govind v/s State of Madhya Pradesh

By:- Tarush

NAME OF THE CASEGovind v/s State of Madhya Pradesh
CITATION1975 AIR 1378, 1975 SCR (3) 946
DATE OF THE Judgement18/03/1975
RESPONDENTState of Madhya Pradesh
BENCH/JUDGEJustice K.R. Mathew, Justice V.R. Krishnaiyer and Justice P.K. Goswami  
STATUTES/CONSTITUTION INVOLVEDConstitution of India, Police Act,1888, Police Regulations
IMPORTANT SECTIONS/ARTICLESArticle 19(1)(d), 21, of Indian Constitution, Section 46(2)(c), police act 1888, Regulation 855 of Police Regulations


“Privacy is an inherent human right. It is a requirement to maintain human dignity and respect.” Bruce Schneir’s passage aptly pointed out that everyone has a right to privacy needs to be respected. The Indian legal system grants the right to privacy. Many of the cases that enter the Indian courts are cases where certain laws enacted by the legislature have been questioned due to non-compliance with the right to privacy.


Govind’s case against Madhya Pradesh is one of the most important cases in the privacy field in India. They are the petitioner Govind and the defendant state Madhya Pradesh, where the government’s regulations are being questioned. In this 1975 case, the petitioner Govind questioned the validity of MPs’ police regulations 855 and 856, which are related to surveillance including through home visits, like the previous Kharak Singh case against Uttar Pradesh. Govind alleged that there were many false accusations against him, and the police monitored him accordingly. Despite rejecting the petition, the Supreme Court recommended reforms to police regulations concerning members of Congress, noting that these regulations are “dangerously on the verge of violating the Constitution.”


Govind is an Indian citizen. The petitioner questioned the validity of Madhya Pradesh police regulations related to surveillance, including home visits. The author claimed that he had been falsely accused and consequently placed him under police surveillance. Based on activities from 1960 to 1969, the Madhya Pradesh police identified the petitioner as a criminal. The police-initiated surveillance pursuant to section 855 and section 856 of section 46 (2) (c) of the Police Act of 1961. Due to his past behavior and history, the petitioner is on the police list. Based on this ruling, many future cases have been closed.


Petitioner Govind (Govind) is an Indian citizen. During the period 1960-1969, he was charged with multiple crimes, some of which were false. In 1962, he was convicted of burglary and sentenced to two months in prison and a fine of rupees. Levy 100. Then, he was sentenced to prison and sentenced to one month in jail and a fine of Rs. 501.

 At the same time, the Madhya Pradesh government enacted Articles 855 and 856 of the Madhya Pradesh Police Regulations, under which the names of persons suspected of participating in certain or other activities must be indicated in the file. criminal. Register, these people should be under constant surveillance.

These people’s homes should be visited from time to time to ensure that they have not committed criminal acts against public order.  After these regulations came into effect, Govind was listed as a repeat offender and was under regular surveillance. He said that the police often visited him at his home, and they often beat and beat him. It disputes regulations 855 and 856 on the grounds that they are not in compliance with the right to privacy and are not supported by existing laws.


  1. Whether the regulations made by the government have any statutory backing or are they in consonance with some law in place?
  2. Whether domiciliary visits by the policemen can be regarded as unconstitutional and against public policy?
  3. Whether the right to privacy is absolute or can be subjected to some restrictions and whether regulation 856 can be declared to be reasonable and justifiable?


  1. The petitioner stated that the police filed several false cases against him in the criminal court, but that he was acquitted in all cases except in two cases. He said the police had opened a background check sheet and monitored him claiming he was a habitual criminal.
  2. Govind stated that the police make frequent home visits during the day and at night. They secretly picket his house and, on the road, leading to his home. All their movements are monitored by the village chief. The police come for any purpose. He came to town, was called in to harass him, and his reputation plummeted in the evaluation of his neighbours. He maintains that each time he leaves the village to go elsewhere, he must report his departure to Chowkidar village or the police station and must provide further information on his destination and time of return.
  3. The petitioner argued that these police actions violated his basic rights in accordance with Article 19 (1) (d) and Article 21 of the Constitution and requested that Articles 855 and 856 be declared void for violating his fundamental rights. The rights stipulated in the previous clauses.
  4. The petitioner maintains that, since the norms discussed here are not issued in accordance with any provision of the Police Law, they must declare the provisions on home visits in Articles 855 and 856 as undesirable norms, even if the norms are issued in accordance with Article 46. (2) (d), they violated the petitioner’s basic rights under Article 19 (1) (d) and Article 21 of the Constitution.
  5.  The petitioner argues that the state government can make rules under Section 46 (2) (c) only to implement the provisions of the Act, while the provisions of Section 856 on visiting residences and other matters do not apply to the Police Law The purpose of any of the clauses of “Article 856” is effective.
  6. On behalf of the petitioner, argued that the right to privacy is a fundamental right and that this right has been violated because Article 856 provides for residence visits and other violations. If the right to privacy in itself is a basic right that is less than the other basic rights of citizens guaranteed in the third part, this question is difficult to solve.


  1. The statement submitted read: “The petitioner committed numerous crimes between 1960 and 1969. In 1962, the petitioner was convicted under Article 452 of the ICC and fined 100 rupees. Severe imprisonment for two months. In another case, he was convicted under Article 456 of the IPC and fined 501 rupees and was severely imprisoned for 1 month by default. In 1969, the petitioner was convicted under Article 55/109 CRPC. He was kidnapped by SDM Jatala (JDM) for a period of one year. In 1969, the petitioner filed a lawsuit against him in accordance with the provisions of Article 325/147/324 of the IPC. Also, pursuant to Article 341/324, another case was also received] PC.”
  2.  In short, the defendant’s case is that the petitioner is a dangerous criminal whose behaviour shows that he is determined to lead a criminal life and is monitored to prevent him from committing a crime.


  1. Regulation 855: Establishes control procedures for persons whose behaviour is sufficient to prove their determination to lead a criminal life and whether the police believe that the person is addicted to certain criminal activities, regardless of whether they have been convicted. If there are any history reports for this person, turn them on, and for those that don’t exist yet, the circle checker will open them.
  •  Regulations 856: It serves in support of regulation 855 and provides the following measures:
    • Station personnel carry out field checks on the daily behaviour, expenses, salary and livelihoods of the personnel.
    • visits from time to time.
    • A secret house barrier when a person is not at home.
    • reports missing people and tracks their activities.
    • Approval of activities due to poor personality.
    • A compilation of information in the history table.
  • Section 46 (2) (c) 1961: stipulates in this section that the government may formulate rules consistent with the Act from time to time to implement the provisions of the Act.
  •  Section 19 (1) ( d) of the Constitution of India: has freedom of movement throughout the territory of India. Anyone can leave India freely within the scope of the law if they wish.
  •  Article 21 of the Constitution of India: has the right to life and personal freedom in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the law. The article stipulates that the constitution guarantees the right to life of individuals, but the costs of public security and legal procedures must be paid.


The court rejected Govind’s request. The court ruled that regulations No. 855 and No. 856 formulated by the government were formulated in accordance with Article 46, paragraph 2 (c) of the Police Act of 1888, and had the necessary legal basis. The court pointed out that there is no clear provision for privacy. According to the Indian Constitution. It may be implied by Article 21 of the Constitution of India, so it is not absolute. Therefore, reasonable restrictions can be imposed on the privacy of individuals, which will be determined through a thorough analysis of the facts of the case and convincing evidence of national interest.

Home visits by the police are not considered an infringement of basic rights, because in essence, it is reasonable, and the purpose is to protect the public interest. Only persons suspected of crimes can receive home visits and surveillance, so these rules are considered reasonable and therefore considered effective. The court urged police officers to take extremely cautious measures. Only people in situations of criminal activity can be monitored to ensure the importance of maintaining regulations.


In this case, the judge rejected Govind’s written request for various reasons. They cited passages from the British case and some famous Indian cases to arrive at this judgment. The trial judge conducted an in-depth analysis and reflection on all aspects and issues of the case.
The judge believes that through regular surveillance and home visits to suspects’ residences, people will stop crimes for fear of being arrested by the police. Therefore, this will prevent people from indulging in criminal activities, and its long-term effect will be to reduce the crime rate. Therefore, there are sufficient reasons and reasons to make the regulations have a legal basis for legal support.

In order to reach an appropriate conclusion on the issues under consideration, the judges distinguished this case from the Kharak Singh v. case. When considering the third issue, the court pointed out that, unlike the right to equality under Article 14, the Indian Constitution does not explicitly mention the right to privacy. The right to privacy may be implied through a variety of basic rights, including personal freedom, the right to move freely throughout India, and freedom of speech. The court held that the right to privacy cannot be absolute and must always be subject to some reasonable restrictions.


Right to Privacy is vague in numerous judgements. The Constitution does not have any specific establishment explicitly stating the Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right simply because Privacy as we say has its scope all over. The makers of the constitution have kept this arena in mind. I think the Right to Privacy has its foundation in the Constitution as a whole. It is just that it is not very clear or a bit ambiguous for which trials occur. The aforesaid case is an illustration of the same.

The regulation which the court stated there as ‘under the force of law’ needs much clarity about its function in my view, when it is said that there should be surveillance and a list must be made, prioritizing the people in the list is very important. Domiciliary visits should occur and that’s passable, but picketing is a bit problematic because by doing such act the human rights issue could be raised if the person is not home there is no need to keep a secret watch on the house and disturb the ambience with such act, this will be a problem for the society.

Further, we never know if the person feels embarrassed for what has done and if they want to get out of crimes and live an honest life this will be severe harm to his reputation. Also while the process is occurring for the people who are just the suspect with no history of crime, this has to be a problem, you cannot just go to somebody’s house and say you are under surveillance because we have doubt on actions you are doing, that’s just baseless for Democratic country with human rights hence this must have strong reasoning.

However, some areas have not yet been developed, and some lagoons have not received the attention they deserve. For example, in some cases, a person may be innocent but is suspected of being a criminal and is under surveillance. The court did not consider the concept of the seriousness of the crime, which can be devalued in certain circumstances. Similarly, Regulation No. 855 stipulates that a person can only be monitored for an alleged crime, and there is no requirement that a prior conviction or reliable evidence be required to declare a person a repeat offender.



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