Right to privacy: A timeline of Supreme Court hearings
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 Chief Justice of India J S Khehar who is heading the nine judge Constitution Bench said in his order that privacy is protected under Article 21 and para 3.
- August 2015: Three-judge Bench holds that "balance of interest" is better served if Aadhaar is made neither mandatory nor a condition for accessing benefits one is already entitled to. The court clarified that this interim order will be in vogue till a five-judge bench decide on the larger constitutional issue whether the Aadhaar scheme, and its biometric mode of registration, amounts to an intrusion into the privacy of a citizen.
- October, 2015: The Supreme Court refers to a Constitution Bench the question whether a person can voluntarily shed his right to privacy by enrolling for Aadhaar to easily access government welfare services. The Bench does not modify its August 11, 2015 order restricting the use of Aadhaar cards to only public distribution system and LPG connections. Instead, it left the order open for the Constitution Bench to consider it and take a call.
- October, 2015: The Supreme Court under then Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu decides to set up another Constitution Bench to re-look the question in the light of raging controversy that the Aadhaar card scheme is an invasion into citizen's privacy. Hearing is scheduled for October 15, 2015.
- October, 2015: The Supreme Court extends the voluntary use of Aadhaar card to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), all types of pensions schemes, employee provident fund and the Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana.
- April, 2016:The passage of Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 on March 11, 2016 comes under SC scanner after parliamentarian Jairam Ramesh challenges its introduction as a Money Bill as "malafide and brazen".
- May, 2017: SC agrees to hear petition filed by several persons, including former NCPCR chairperson and Magsaysay winner Shanta Sinha, against 17 government notifications allegedly making Aadhaar mandatory to access welfare schemes and benefits after June 30, 2017
- July 7: Three-judge bench says issues arising out of Aadhaar should finally be decided by larger bench and CJI would take a call on need for setting up a constitution bench. Matter mentioned before CJI who sets up a five-judge constitution bench to hear the matter.
- July 18: Five-judge constitution bench decides to set up a nine-judge bench to decide whether the right to privacy can be declared a fundamental right under the Constitution.
- Nine-judge bench (Chief Justice J S Khehar, 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) constituted to hear the privacy matter.
- July 19: SC says right to privacy can't be absolute, may be regulated.
- July 19: Centre tells SC that right to privacy is not a fundamental right.
- July 26: Karnataka, West Bengal, Punjab and Puducherry, the four non-BJP ruled states move SC in favour of right to privacy.
- July 26: Centre tells SC that privacy can be fundamental right with some riders.
- July 27: Maharashtra government tells SC that privacy is not a "standalone" right, but it is rather a concept.
- August 1: SC says there has to be "overarching" guidelines to protect an individual's private information in public domain.
- August 2: SC says protection of the concept of privacy in the technological era was a "losing battle", reserves verdict.
- August 24: The CJI J S Khehar who is heading the nine judge Constitution Bench declares that privacy is fundamental right