​​​
  1. Supreme Court verdict on Right to Privacy may hit Modi’s corruption battle

Supreme Court verdict on Right to Privacy may hit Modi’s corruption battle

India’s top court has ruled citizens have a fundamental right to privacy, a potential setback to the government’s plan of using its vast biometric identification program in everything from mobile connections to income-tax filings.

By: | Published: August 24, 2017 2:17 PM
Supreme Court, India, Narendra Modi, J S khehar, Aadhaar, Aadhaar Program India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Reuters)

India’s top court has ruled citizens have a fundamental right to privacy, a potential setback to the government’s plan of using its vast biometric identification program in everything from mobile connections to income-tax filings. In an unanimous verdict nine judges of the Supreme Court ruled that privacy was a part of the fundamental right to life and liberty guaranteed under the country’s constitution.“Right to privacy is an intrinsic part of right to life,” Chief Justice J.S. Khehar said while reading out the verdict.The ruling by a rare nine-judge bench came after a referral from a smaller panel hearing a challenge to India’s vast biometric identity program, Aadhaar, which has signed up more than one billion Indians. Aadhaar, which means “foundation” in Hindi, is a 12-digit number provided to citizens after collecting their biometric information — finger prints and an iris scan — along with demographic details and a mobile phone number.

It was originally designed to stop the pilfering by middlemen of government subsidies for the poor, by underpinning a citizen’s I.D. with biometric data, and to save money as the government doles out social security benefits. The Aadhaar program has gradually become a key component of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to make India a cashless society. Modi’s government has attempted to make Aadhaar compulsory for a number of government services ranging from school meals for students to paying taxes, raising concerns about privacy and data theft. The legal validity of a mandatory use of the Aadhaar program will now be scrutinized by a smaller bench in light of the verdict on Thursday.

In an unanimous verdict nine judges of the Supreme Court ruled that privacy was a part of the fundamental right to life and liberty guaranteed under the country’s constitution.“Right to privacy is an intrinsic part of right to life,” Chief Justice J.S. Khehar said while reading out the verdict.The ruling by a rare nine-judge bench came after a referral from a smaller panel hearing a challenge to India’s vast biometric identity program, Aadhaar, which has signed up more than one billion Indians. Aadhaar, which means “foundation” in Hindi, is a 12-digit number provided to citizens after collecting their biometric information — finger prints and an iris scan — along with demographic details and a mobile phone number.

It was originally designed to stop the pilfering by middlemen of government subsidies for the poor, by underpinning a citizen’s I.D. with biometric data, and to save money as the government doles out social security benefits. The Aadhaar program has gradually become a key component of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to make India a cashless society. Modi’s government has attempted to make Aadhaar compulsory for a number of government services ranging from school meals for students to paying taxes, raising concerns about privacy and data theft. The legal validity of a mandatory use of the Aadhaar program will now be scrutinized by a smaller bench in light of the verdict on Thursday.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Go to Top