Right To Privacy Not Absolute, Observes SC

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New Delhi: Revisiting the question of privacy, a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that right to privacy was not absolute. This comes 55 years after the apex court decided that privacy is not a basic right for citizens. T

The decision of the judges is pivotal to petitions that challenge making the Aadhaar scheme mandatory for millions of Indians. The bench will continue hearing matter on Thursday.

Senior counsel Gopal Subramanium told the Supreme Court that the right to privacy is a pre-existing natural right which is inherent in the Constitution though not explicitly mentioned.

Subramanium is leading the argument on behalf of the petitioners who have challenged the Aadhaar scheme on the grounds of its being violative of the right to privacy. Subramanium said that “The right to privacy is recognised as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution. The concept of privacy is embedded in liberty as well as honour of a person.”

Read More: SC Sets Up 9-Judge Bench To Decide On Right To Privacy

His arguments came as the apex court on Wednesday commenced hearing on the question whether right to privacy was a fundamental right.

A nine-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar is examining the nature of privacy as a right in context of two judgments of 1954 and other in 1962 which had held that right to privacy was not a fundamental right.

Taking forward the argument that privacy is a fundamental right, senior counsel Shyam Divan told the bench that even Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during a debate on the Aadhaar Bill in the Rajya Sabha had asserted that privacy was a fundamental right linked to right of liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Responding to a question during debate in the Rajya Sabha on March 16, 2016, Finance Minister Jaitley had said that the top court was considering the conflicting judgments on privacy and whether it was a fundamental right or not.

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