The government of India conceded in the Supreme Court in July that right to privacy may be considered as a fundamental right under the Constitution but many facets relating to it cannot be put under the fundamental rights category.
The Centre had told the apex court since privacy was multifaceted, it could not be treated as a fundamental right. 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 top court that had held it was not a fundamental right.
Right to privacy could be a fundamental right, but it could not be absolute, Attorney General K K Venugopal submitted before a nine-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar.
On the issue of Aadhaar card, Venugopal contended, “Under the MNREGA scheme, the government is giving money for the work done by people through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) into their bank accounts. The money now goes directly into their bank accounts after being linked to Aadhaar which they never got earlier.”
On the other hand, Justice Nariman said, “Don’t forget the little man’s right to privacy. Everything is not Aadhaar-centric. We are going to consider all aspects and give you a comprehensive judgement for conceptual clarity of the nation.”
The Attorney General then took serious objection to the earlier statements made by the lawyers for Right to Privacy that making Aadhaar mandatory has converted India into a totalitarian state. The Supreme Court is expected to pronounce its verdict on the issue on Thursday.