Right to Privacy now a fundamental right – Supreme Court

A nine judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court head by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar upheld the Right to Privacy a Fundamental Right as it is intrinsic to life and liberty, thus under Article 21 and Part 3 of the Constitution of India. The immediate effects would be reflected in Aadhaar’s data collection policy and section 377 of the Constitution which criminalizes gay sex.

Right to privacy refers to the protection of intimate details regarding marriage, sexuality, relations with family and private details like information related to use of credit cards, social media platforms and I-T declarations.

The issue regarding an alleged breach of privacy started when a bunch of petitions was filed in the Supreme Court on 21 July 2015 challenging the Aadhaar scheme as a violation of privacy, clarifying that the demands made by officials for the ‘all-purpose identity card’ is clearly against the Supreme Court’s interim order of September 23, 2013, mentioning Aadhaar to be voluntary.

All nine judges arrived at the same conclusion, through different but overlapping judgments.

An important point here is contrary to the air surrounding it, the judgment was not meant to decide the fate of Aadhaar just on whether the privacy of an individual was a part of their inviolable fundamental rights.

The judgment over-ruled an eight-bench judgment in the MP Sharma case in 1954 and a six-judge bench in Kharak Singh case in 1962.

On the other side, PTI tweeted, “Ruling was to deal with the batch of petitions challenging govt move to make #Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of social welfare scheme.”

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