The Supreme Court of India on Thursday is set to pronounce its verdict on Right to Privacy. A 9-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India, JS Khehar, Justices Jasti Chelameswar, SA Bobde, RK Agarwal, Rohinton Nariman, AM Sapre, DY Chandrachud, SK Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer while hearing the plea challenging Centre's Aadhaar Act will determine whether there is a fundamental right to privacy in the Indian Constitution.
The apex court examined the two previous cases, the MP Sharma case in 1954 and Kharak Singh case in 1962 in which the court had held that Right to Privacy was not a fundamental right.
Here are the details of SC's judgements on M. P. Sharma and Kharag Singh cases:
M. P. Sharma And Others vs Satish Chandra Case, March 15, 1954:
The M. P. Sharma vs Satish Chandra case was related to the raids and seizure of documents of a Dalmia group company- Messrs. Dalmia Jain Airways Ltd. The investigation indicated that the company was indulged in malpractices and it misappropriated the funds conceal from the shareholders the real state of affairs by submitting false documents and balance-sheets.
The Government had ordered an investigation into the affairs of the company and on November 19, 1953, a First Information Report (FIR) was registered.On the basis of FIR, District Magistrate, Delhi was asked for warrants for the search of documents. The DM had ordered an investigation of the offenses and issued warrants for simultaneous searches at as many as 34 places.
The aggrieved parties challenged the searches in their petition and alleged that their private documents were taken away and it violated their fundamental rights under various articles. The petitioners also sought to quash the searches as being absolutely illegal and ask for the return of the documents seized.
A bench of then Chief Justice Mehar Chand Mahajan and Justices B Jagannadhadas and six others in its judgement noted on March 15, 1954, held that, "A power of search and seizure is in any system of jurisprudence'an overriding power of the State for the protection of social security and that power is necessarily regulated by law. When the Constitution makers have thought fit not to subject such regulation to Constitutional limitations by recognition of a (1) 201 U.S. 43; 50 Law. Edn. 652. the fundamental right to privacy, analogous to the American Fourth Amendment, we have no justification to import it, into a totally different fundamental right. by some process of strained construction."
Kharak Singh vs The State Of Uttar Pradesh & Others Case, December 18, 1962:
In this case, Kharak Singh was arrested in a case of dacoity in 1941, but there was no substantial evidence found against him and he was released. But Uttar Pradesh Police had opened a "history-sheet" in regard to him under Chapter XX of the Uttar Pradesh Police Regulations.
In his petition, Kharag Singh challenged the constitutional validity of Chapter XX and alleged that the UP police violated his fundamental rights under Articles 19(1)(d) — right to freedom of movement — and 21 — protection of life and personal liberty.
In its judgement noted on December 18, 1962, a bench of six judges comprising the then Chief Justice Bhuvaneshwar P Sinha and Justices Syed Jaffer Imam, K Subbarao, N Rajagopala Ayyangar, J C Shah and J R Mudholkar had struck down the Clause (b) — domiciliary visits at night of Chapter XX of the Uttar Pradesh Police Regulations but upheld the rest 5 Clauses.
The bench pronounced the judgement against Kharak Singh and held that “the right of privacy is not a guaranteed right under our Constitution, and therefore the attempt to ascertain the movements of an individual is merely a manner in which privacy is invaded and is not an infringement of a fundamental right guaranteed in Part III (fundamental rights)”.