Aadhaar case in Supreme Court: The top court will decide whether the much debated issue of right to privacy can be termed as a fundamental right under the Constitution. A nine-judge bench was set up to hear the matter. The matter will be heard from today. A five-judge Constitution Bench met yesterday to hear pleas challenging the validity of the Aadhaar scheme and the right to privacy attached to it.
The nine-judge bench will be headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) J S Khehar. It will also comprise 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.
Yesterday, the judges refrtred to two earlier judgements — M P Sharma’s case in 1954 and Kharak Singh’s case in 1962. Those two judgements by court had held that privacy was not a fundamental right. While the first was delivered by an eight-judge bench, the latter was decided by a six-judge bench. Earlier on June 9, the apex court had upheld the Central government’s decision making it compulsory for those filing Income Tax returns to furnish their Aadhaar numbers. The CJI said that the issue needed to settled in order to go forward.
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“Our founding fathers have encompassed all rights. But consciously, this (right to privacy) is omitted,” Attorney General K K Venugopal told the court. Venugopal’s view was countered by Justice Chelameswar: “It is illogical to argue that our Constitution is devoid of right to privacy while common law identifies it. Textually it is correct today that there is no right to privacy in the Constitution. But even freedom of press is not expressly stated. This court has interpreted it,” Chelameswar said.