Right to Privacy a fundamental right: The impact on Aadhaar explained
The Supreme Court on Thursday held that Right to Privacy is a fundamental right. The verdict was delivered by a nine judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice of India, J S Khehar. The Bench in a unanimous decision held that right to privacy is a fundamental right.
This means a five judge Bench of SC will test validity of Aadhaar on the touchstone of privacy as a fundamental right.
The SC had kept the Right to Privacy issue away from the Aadhaar case. But any verdict in this regard will have a direct bearing on the case. While hearing the Aadhaar case, the SC had pointed out Right to Privacy cannot be an absolute right and the state may have some power to impose reasonable restrictions.
The contention of the petitioners was that when a citizen gives his biometrics and personal details to the government and it is used by commercial organisations, it amounts to breach of privacy.
Now that the court has held that Right to Privacy is a fundamental right under Article 21, it would be a shot in the arm for the petitioners. The petitioners' contention that finger prints may be reproduced which would enable data theft will be bolstered. While the SC has kept this case and the one relating to Aadhaar separate, it would still have some bearing. The petitioners could cite the nine judge verdict in the Aadhaar case and make their contentions stronger.
However if the court hold that Right to Privacy is not a fundamental or absolute right, then the petitioners' contention in the Aadhaar case would become weaker.