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Privacy is a fundamental right : Supreme Court of India

In a historic move, the Supreme Court of India on Thursday ruled that privacy is a fundamental right. It argued that Right to Privacy is fundamental to the right to life.

The bench constituted of nine prominent members who unanimously deliberated that privacy is also an integral part of the right to life and personal liberty as stated in the Article 21 of the Constitution. The bench constituted Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde, RK Agrawal, Rohinton F Nariman, Abhay Manohar Sapre, DY Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

The judgment turned out to be a blow to the existing Aadhar scheme because the Centre is now required to persuade the Supreme Court that taking fingerprint sample and iris scan does not interfere with the privacy of people.

The judgment is sure to impact the lives of countrymen as a five judge bench would now test the validity of Aadhar on the standards of privacy as a fundamental right.

It has come as a blow to the 6-judge bench in the notorious Kharak Singh case that ruled out that privacy is not a fundamental right. The key members of this bench constituted current Chief Justice Khehar, J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Aggarwal, A M Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, R F Nariman, Sanjay K Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer.

In an interview with a leading newspaper, Attorney General K K Venugopal said, “Whatever the 9-judge bench says is the correct law”. Venugopal had already argued against the right to privacy being a fundamental right in Supreme Court.

The judgment reconciles our laws in tandem with the Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 and Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966. It would now be lawful to safeguard individual’s interest against arbitrary interference as regard one’s privacy, home, family, correspondence, repute or prestige.