Aadhaar card privacy issue: SC begins hearing, AG says omission of privacy from Article 21 deliberate

"The issue is simple. Is there a fundamental right to privacy under the Indian Constitution? The view that existed earlier was an opinion that different fundamental rights were individual and distinct. And that Article 21 was a residuary right. The basic freedoms were under article 19," Advocate Gopal Subramanian, who is appearing for the petitioners, said on Tuesday.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 26, 2017 1:12 pm
aadhaar card, aadhar issues, aadhar supreme court, aadhaar privacy matter, india news, indian express news The nine-judge Constitution bench began their hearing on the case in which petitioners contest that Aadhaar card raises privacy threat.

During the Supreme Court hearing on Aadhaar card privacy issue on Wednesday, Attorney General K K Venugopal argued that privacy as a fundamental right was deliberately avoided from Article 21. “Privacy, as a fundamental right, could have been mentioned in 21, but has been omitted. This was deliberate.”

Venugopal, who was arguing for the government, also said “the rights under 21 are not absolute. That is why we have the death penalty for gross crimes and incarceration for crimes.” He also argued that right to life “transcends” right to privacy.

The nine-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar, began their hearing in the case in which petitioners contest that the twelve-digit biometric unique identification card raises privacy threat. The petitioners had completed their argument in the apex court on July 20.

“The issue is simple. Is there a fundamental right to privacy under the Indian Constitution? The view that existed earlier was an opinion that different fundamental rights were individual and distinct. And that Article 21 was a residuary right. The basic freedoms were under article 19,” Advocate Gopal Subramanium, who is appearing for the petitioners, said on Tuesday. He also argued that privacy is embedded in all processes of human life and liberty.

Karnataka, West Bengal, Punjab and Puducherry have also moved the top court seeking to intervene in the matter. Senior advocate and former Union Minister Kapil Sibal, who is representing the four states, said that in the light of technological advancement, the court needs to take a fresh look on the Right to Privacy and its contours in the modern day.

“Privacy cannot be an absolute right. But it is a Fundamental Right. This court needs to strike a balance,” Sibal said. The hearing is currently underway.

Last week, the Centre also told the apex court that personal data was part of a person’s fundamental right to life and cannot be shared freely by internet service providers or social networking sites. The development is contrary to the stand already taken by the government in the Aadhaar issue stating that citizens do not have a fundamental right to privacy.

“My (individual) personal data is intimate to me. It is an integral part of my right to lead a life with dignity. If there is any contractual obligation between the individual and the internet service provider and it impinges on the individual’s right (under Article 21), State will have to intervene and regulate sharing of such data,” Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha told a five-judge Constitution Bench during a hearing on the WhatsApp privacy matter.

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  1. G
    Ganesh Gaonkar
    Jul 27, 2017 at 3:24 pm
    Aadhaar 909334338163. 26/01/1999 change 26/01/1998
  2. B
    Babul Roy
    Jul 27, 2017 at 12:16 pm
    On the Question of Aadhar Privacy: We need to ask clarify a number of points: (i) Does Aadhar database can be unscrupulously access and use by anybody including the Government freely? or there are some rules of sa uards to protect the data from any misuse and manipulation? (ii) Even if there are possibilities of violation of privacy right, this must not be understood in isolation. The right to privacy must be measured in terms of many other rights, such as right to live securely, right to be treated equally, right of not to be discriminated, right of getting a fair deal from administration/ Govt., etc. (iii) What should be preferred the right to privacy of a few over right to live happily by a millions. (iv) How can privacy right of an individual be affected, if such data are secured with the Govt. who will use them only for common welfare? (v) Right to privacy must be understood in today's perspective, when satellite spy-cam can keep a watch on anybody from any distance.
  3. R
    Rajiv Kumar Advocate
    Jul 26, 2017 at 5:37 pm
    Art 21 has not been worded to contain restrictions as in Art 19
  4. P
    Jul 26, 2017 at 3:25 pm
    Right to Privacy is not a absolute right.
  5. E
    Eve Fernandez
    Jul 26, 2017 at 2:18 pm
    The first point to be considered by court and government is the opinion of the people. Both ins utions should think about this rather than other matters subject to interpretation.
  6. P
    Parth Garg
    Jul 26, 2017 at 2:06 pm
    Indeed it was a deliberate omission like our Hon. President omitting the mention of Nehru. Indira Gandhi and L.B.Shastri in his inaugural address.
  7. I
    Jul 26, 2017 at 1:19 pm
    Halla Bol : We Indians should get together and reject all those sections of the society that even mention words like "religion" "caste" "hindu" "muslim" "christian" "sikh" "Dalit" etc. for the the sake of elections. Governance and only governance should be the manifesto of all parties. Reject even those sections of the media also who use such topics to increase their TRPs. All of us are being taken for a ride by the political parties and we get mesmerized by these useless, unproductive agendas. 90 per.cent of all debates on news channels focus on hate and war mongering. Give us a better life by providing good edu., health, roads, water, our kid's future,employment,price rise,electricity ... The rich are becoming richer without our knowledge. Ever seen Ambani's, Adani's, Tata's, Infosys, Maruti, Mahindra's .. taking and fighting about religion ? No, only the politicians will talk about it and the we middle and lower class listen and fight. Your vote is precious so use it wisely.
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