Right to privacy verdict: In India, do citizens have a fundamental right to privacy? Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its judgement on the issue today. A nine-judge Constitution Bench of the apex court may answer this question on a reference from a five-judge bench. The nine-judge bench is headed by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar. Other judges are Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, R F Nariman, A M Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, S K Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer. The bench had reserved its verdict on the matter on August 2 after arguments over six days, according to Indian Express report.
The right to privacy question was referred to the nine-judge bench after a raft of petitions challenged the Aadhaar Act claiming it violates people’s privacy. The matter came up before the five-judge bench.
What is The Aadhaar Act, 2016?
It is a money bill which was passed on the 11 March, 2016 in the Lok Sabha. The central Act makes Aadhaar card mandatory for any “subsidy, benefit or service” for which the expenditure is borne fully or shared partially by the Consolidated Fund of India. This means that every welfare subsidy or benefit, from fully-funded or centrally-sponsored schemes (where states share part of the fiscal burden), is conditional on verification through Aadhaar, according to Indian Express report.
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As per the existing position of law, there was no fundamental right to privacy in the Constitution. The matter was settled by an eight-judge Supreme Court bench in 1954 (in the M P Sharma case) and subsequently by a six-judge bench in 1962 (in the Kharak Singh case).