Right To Privacy Is A Fundamental Right, Rules Supreme Court
In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court has ruled that the right to privacy is a fundamental right of every citizen.
The bench ruled that Right to Privacy “is protected as an intrinsic part of Article 21 that protects life and liberty”.
The current verdict overturns two previous rulings by the apex court which ruled that ‘privacy was not a fundamental right’.
The verdict came in response to privacy concerns over the Aadhaar card scheme. Many rights groups have expressed their concern that the biometric data can get misused. The Central government wanted the registration to be compulsory.
Critics have pointed out that the data can be misused by a government which believes that Indians have no right to privacy. There have been several cases when Aadhaar details of individuals got leaked, including on government websites. Yet, UIDAI, the agency that governs Aadhaar, has insisted time and again that the data is secure.
Many have taken to social media to appreciate the historic verdict:
A brief history of the case before the SC
In 2013, a public interest litigation (PIL) challenged Aadhaar in front of the SC. Further, in October 2015, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Chelameshwar did not change its August 11, 2015. The bench only restricted the use of Aadhaar to the public distribution system (PDS) and LPG connections.
However, within two weeks, a five-judge bench allowed the use of Aadhaar for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). It was further extended to government pension schemes, EPF and the Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana.
The public interest litigation challenged Aadhaar on the ground that it is a violation of the right to privacy. The petitioners assumed that law recognizes privacy as a fundamental right.
The nine-judge bench, led by the Chief Justice of India, heard the case for six days before it reserved its judgment
Implications of the Judgment