The Supreme Court in a historic fall out of the nine-judge bench judgment declared Right to Privacy to be a fundamental right. They recognised it as intrinsic to life and liberty and an essential right protected by Part III of the Constitution, under which an ordinary man can now directly approach the Supreme Court and the High Courts for violation of his fundamental right under the Constitution regardless of him/her being a citizen or not (Article 32 and 226) to get justice.
By ensuring privacy to be an immanent attribute of each and every fundamental right in part 3 of the Indian Constitution, the SC has made privacy an important element of other fundamental freedoms as mentioned above which includes right to equality, free speech and expression, religion and a myriad other important fundamental rights essential for a dignified existence subject to reasonable restrictions of public health, morality and order.
But the recent amendment is just theoretical in the current establishment, it for sure has removed the roadblocks created by MP Sharma and Kharak Singh trials but the life of common man remains unchanged.
Privacy did open Pandora’s box of possibilities and new freedoms can grow under it.
Bursting a common myth, the judgment does not fall in accordance to the Aadhar trial but does have a significant impact on it, which will be questioned the validity of Aadhaar scheme and adds to the opposition’s arguments. This does not prove Aadhaar to be invalid. With that, Soli Sorabjee while talking to The Economic Times said, “You cannot make a blanket and categorical statement that Aadhaar will be banned or is unconstitutional. No Fundamental Right is absolute. It is always subject to reasonable restrictions.”
The ruling paved a way for decriminalization for homosexuality and LGBT rights in particular. Justice Chandrachud in his judgment (in which he was joined by Justices RK Agrawal and S Abdul Nazeer, and CJI JS Khehar) said that they disagreed with the manner with which the Koushal case dealt with the privacy-dignity based claims of LGBT people. The court said, “
Their rights are not “so-called” but are real rights founded on sound constitutional doctrine. They inhere in the right to life. They dwell in privacy and dignity. They constitute the essence of liberty and freedom. Sexual orientation is an essential component of identity. Equal protection demands protection of the identity of every individual without discrimination
By declaring privacy protected under the Constitution, the court has given power to the common man against unreasonable state intrusions and provides data protection in the digital age. The court expressed in the judgment expressed its concerns on the citizen’s personal data being used for commercial purposes. “I don’t want the State to pass on my personal information to some 2000 service providers who will send me WhatsApp messages offering cosmetics and air conditioners… That is our area of concern. Personal details turn into vital commercial information for private service providers,” Justice D.Y. Chandrachud once mentioned.
The speculation is that the judgment can also have an effect on the legality of marital rape. Arguments on the constitutionality of marital rape will be heard on Monday in the Delhi High Court. According to Karuna Nundy, an advocate in the Supreme Court, the recognition of the Right to Privacy should bolster the arguments for a woman’s right to bodily integrity.
With the judgment providing a plethora of options what’s to be noted is whether the government will be able to make the most of it for us, common man’s benefit!
-Inputs from IANS