Right to privacy is Fundamental Right: SC– In his verdict Supreme Court of India has announced with a unanimous 9-0 judgment that Right to Privacy is indeed be a fundamental right protected by the Constitution of India. This means that laws that violate the right to privacy can be struck down on that ground by a High Court or the Supreme Court. Everyone concerned about their privacy in this modern and digitalized world and this judgment could be a milestone.
During reading the conclusion of nine-judge Bench, Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar said the court had overruled its own eight-judge Bench and six-judge Bench judgments of M.P. Sharma and Kharak Singh cases delivered in 1954 and 1961, respectively, that privacy is not protected under the Constitution.
Right To Privacy Is Fundamental Right Under Constitution
The judgment is very important because Central Government’s Aadhaar scheme that collects personal details, bank details, PAN details, biometrics to identify beneficiaries for accessing social benefits and government welfare scheme. Recently government makes Aadhaar Card mandatory for every social benefits and government welfare scheme one by one. And this raised the question whether privacy is a fundamental right.
The assurance to dignity of every individual which is enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution has finally found its legal place through this judgement. The Supreme Court has put India on a progressive path of societal and technological evolution.
The government argued against the right to privacy and said other social media websites like Facebook, Google and private companies also collect their user’s and employees data. And there is no guarantee to keep them safe. But majority of the judges recognize the need to ensure data protection for right to privacy, and it is not possible to keep them all safe. This case was about far more than politics: it was about the ethos of our Republic.
SC says privacy is fundamental right, ruling may impact Aadhaar
Central government and four NDA-ruled states opposed privacy being a fundamental right. On the other side four opposition-ruled states had supported the petitioners in the case that privacy should be a fundamental right.
The 9-bench judges realized the importance of privacy in the age of technology, and discussed the privacy concerns on big data aggregation and its protection arrangement. However, SC left some concerns up to the government. Another constitutional bench set up by union government is taking his decision on data protection. The committee is chaired by Justice Srikrishna.
If the judgement can be captured in a nutshell, then in the seminal words of Justice Chandrachud: “The pursuit of happiness is founded upon autonomy and dignity. Both are essential attributes of privacy which makes no distinction between the birth marks of individuals.”
“If the individual permits someone to enter the house it does not mean that others can enter the house” – Justice SK Kaul
The nine-judge Bench comprised of CJI Khehar, Justice S Abdul Nazeer, Justice J Chelameswar, Justice S A Bobde, Justice R K Agrawal, Justice R F Nariman, Justice A M Sapre, Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice S K Kaul.