Aadhaar Privacy Case: The Supreme Court today observed that it is nearly impossible to define privacy, which is not absolute and the state cannot be prevented from imposing reasonable restrictions on citizens, according to a report by The Hindu. The nine-judge bench of the apex court, which is looking into the limited matter of right to privacy, attached to the Aadhaar case, also observed that any attempt to define privacy may cause more harm than good. The hearing in the privacy matter will continue on the second day tomorrow.
The petitioners today put forth a statement by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, which he had given in the parliament while moving the Aadhaar Bill. “The present bill presupposes and is based on a premise, and it’s too late in the day to contest that privacy is not a fundamental right. Privacy is not an absolute right, which is subjected to a restriction established by law on a fair and just procedure,” Jaitley had said.
In past, the apex court has held that right to privacy is not a fundamental right. On Tuesday, however, the Supreme Court observed, “In a Republic founded on a written Constitution, it is difficult to accept there is no fundamental right to privacy.” The court’s observation put a put a question mark on the government’s apparent efforts to make Aadhaar mandatory for access to a number of state-sponsored doles and services as well as for taxation and other aspects of regulatory governance. The court also formed a nine-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar to decide on the privacy debate.
The top court on Tuesday also said that the larger bench would examine the correctness of the two judgements delivered in the cases of
Kharak Singh and M P Sharma in which it was held that right to privacy was not a fundamental right. While the Kharak Singh judgement was delivered by a six- judge bench in 1960, the M P Sharma verdict was reported in 1950 and was delivered by an eight-judge Constitution bench, according to PTI.
The nine-judge bench also include justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, Rohinton Fali Nariman, Abhay Manohar Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer.