Privacy is a fundamental right, rules Supreme Court

Privacy is a fundamental right, rules Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave its verdict on the right to privacy and said that it is a ‘fundamental right’.

After a five-judge bench hearing several petitions challenging the Aadhaar Act referred the matter to a larger bench, a nine-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday decided whether Indians will enjoy the fundamental right to privacy or not.

The bench observed that privacy is intrinsic to freedom of life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The bench is headed by Chief Justice of India, JS Khehar, and comprises of Justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde, RK Agrawal, RF Nariman, AM Sapre, DY Chandrachud, SK Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer. The bench had reserved its verdict on the matter on 2 August , after a marathon hearing spread over a period of six days.

Speaking to the media, senior counsel Prashant Bhushan said, “The judgment doesn’t say anything about the right of citizens to share biometric details for Aadhaar. The nine-judge held that it is a fundamental right. Any law passed cannot infringe upon the reasonable restrictions on your right to privacy. If the government says Aadhaar will be required for travel and purchases then in my view these are unreasonable restrictions… it is a setback to the government as they said right to privacy is not a ‘wholly qualified’ right.”

The question of whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution was first raised in the supreme  court before a three-judge bench. Several petitioners had challenged the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar compulsory to benefit from social and welfare schemes.

The three-judge bench had referred the case to a larger bench on 7 July , which was set up by the CJI. The five-judge Constitution bench had decided on 18 July to refer the matter to a nine-judge bench.

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