While Centre bats for privacy in WhatsApp case, contradicts its stand in Aadhaar case
The Union's submission in the WhatsApp privacy case on Friday was the complete opposite from the stand it has taken so far in the Aadhaar case.
Representing the Centre before a five-judge constitutional bench, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) PS Narisimha submitted that any service provider or social media platform that shared any personal data which impinged on a person's Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution would need to be regulated.
The bench is hearing a petition filed by students led by Karmanya Singh Sareen alleging that a data-sharing contract entered into between Facebook and instant messaging platform WhatsApp in 2016 is a violation of the citizens' right to privacy. This data includes photographs, messages, pictures shared by the users on WhatsApp.
In the hour-long hearing in the WhatsApp case, senior advocate Kapil Sibal argued that his client employs end-to-end encryption and has no scope of interference by a third party.
Incidentally, the stand taken by the Centre in this WhatsApp case does not gel with its position in Aadhaar case which is before Chief Justice of India Khehar-led nine-judge Constitution Bench, which is now examining whether the right of a citizen to remain private and to not part with his personal information or data to neither the State nor private parties is absolute and fundamental to his dignity and liberty.
The petitioners in the Aadhaar case have argued that citizens should not be compelled by the State to suffer the indignity of being made to part with their personal data like biometric details to access welfare and benefits due to them by right.
The Centre has maintained in the Aadhaar case that privacy or the "right to be left alone" is not a fundamental right under the Constitution, but only a common law right which can be subject to State intervention.
The nine-judge Bench was convened to decide on the question of privacy on a referral from a five-judge Bench hearing the Aadhaar case.
OneIndia News (with agency inputs)