The Supreme Court's nine-judge Constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar upheld Right To Privacy as fundamental right on Thursday. All the nine judges had consensus over upholding Right To Privacy as fundamental right.
A nine-judge bench ruled that “right to privacy is an intrinsic part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 and entire Part III of the Constitution”.
The ruling on the highly contentious issue was to deal with a batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes.
Others members of the bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, R F Nariman, A M Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, S K Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer also shared the same view.
The nine judges unanimously overruled the two earlier judgements of the apex court that right to privacy is not protected under the Constitution.
The bench overruled the M P Sharma verdict of 1950 and that of Kharak Singh of 1960.
The judgement in the Kharak Singh case was pronounced by eight judges and in M P Sharma it was delivered by six judges.
Justice Khehar, who read the operative portion of the judgement, said the subsequent verdicts pronounced after M P Sharma and Kharak Singh have laid down the correct position of the law.
Before pronouncing the judgement, the CJI said that among the nine judges some of them have authored different orders.
As it happened:
# 12:56 PM
The Aadhar we conceived was perfectly compatible with the Right To Privacy. It is the interpretation of this government of the Article 21 which is an invasion of Right To Privacy. No fault in the Aadhar concept, there is fault in how this government plans to use or misuse Aadhar as a tool, says P Chidambaram
# 11:20 AM
“Path breaking & seminal judgement of Supreme Court declares ‘Privacy’ as fundamental right. A great victory for liberty & freedom. S.C rejects Modi Govt’s attempt to whittle down the right to privacy as a fundamental right by AG’s plea of no mention in Constitution,” said Rendeep Surjewala.
# 11:14 AM
“Congratulations to all lawyers, activists, others who fought this govt’s sinister designs to deny Indians their fundamental right to privacy. A far-reaching judgement which will have consequences in various domains, as technology is playing a greater role in our day-to-day lives. We have been opposed to mandatory Aadhaar, data misuse by foreign tech corporates. This judgement will pave the way for securing our rights.” tweets Sitaram Yechury.
# 11:08 AM
The Supreme Court overruled its earlier decision when the court held Right to Privacy was not a fundamental right.
# 11:02 AM
Any law which abuses privacy is wrong, says Supreme Court
# 10:56 AM
The nine judge bench ruled privacy is intrinsic to freedom of life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution
# 10:48 AM
There was consensus among nine-judge bench which upheld Right To Privacy as fundamental right
# 10:45 AM
Supreme Court's nine-judge bench upholds Right To Privacy as fundamental right
Centre’s opinion in SC-
Right to privacy could be a fundamental right, but it could not be absolute, Attorney General K K Venugopal had submitted before a nine-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar.
“There may be a fundamental right to privacy and it has to be a qualified right since it covers diverse aspects and a sub-species of the Right to Liberty. Every aspect or sub- species cannot qualify to be a fundamental right,” he had said.
“Right to privacy can’t be one homogenous right. It’s not absolute and is rather qualified to be elevated to the level of fundamental right. Privacy will be one species which comes under right to liberty,” he had stated.
The Centre’s assertion came when the bench posed a pointed query to the attorney general as to what was the stand of the government on the question whether right to privacy was a fundamental right or not.
The contentious issue as to whether right to privacy was a fundamental right or not was referred to a larger bench in 2015 after the Centre had underlined the issue of two judgements delivered in 1950 and 1962 by the apex court that had held it was not a fundamental right.
Supreme Court’s observation so far-
The Supreme Court had earlier said that there has to be "overarching" guidelines to protect an individuals private information in public domain to ensure that it was used only for an intended purpose.
A nine-judge Constitution bench, dealing with the contentious issue whether right to privacy was a fundamental right, had rejected plea of a Gujarat government lawyer that misuse of personal information could be dealt with on a "case-to-case basis" and said an all-embracing guideline was needed keeping in mind the size of the population.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, also referred to the fact that India was a signatory of a 1948 international convention which recognised privacy as a human right.
Referring to arguments put forward by the Maharashtra government on the issue, the court said, "Even if we accept it that the Constituent Assembly dealt with it (privacy issue) and decided against including it as a fundamental right, then how you will deal with the fact that India is a signatory to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights which recognises it."