Supreme Court today unanimously ruled that individual privacy is a fundamental right overruling the M.P. Sharma (1962) and Kharak Singh (1954) judgment and held that the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The verdict was given as soon as the nine-judge Constitution bench of the apex court resumed the hearing on the case on Thursday morning.
Following today’s historic judgment, a five-judge constitutional bench will decide whether the Aadhar violates the Right to Privacy or not.
The Supreme Court, earlier on August 2, had reserved its judgment over the issue of whether right to privacy is a fundamental right or not.
On July 26, the Centre told the apex court that there is a fundamental right to privacy, which is a ‘wholly qualified right’ too.
The bench headed by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar and 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 had reserved the verdict in the case on August 2 after hearing extensive arguments for six days.
During the hearing, Attorney General, K.K. Venugopal had told the apex court that “privacy, as a fundamental right, could have been mentioned in Article 21, but has been omitted. Right to life transcends right to privacy”.
Pertinently, the Central government has welcomed the Supreme Court’s judgement on the Right to Privacy stating that it is a part of the Right to Liberty, but is also “subject to reasonable restrictions.”
“The government welcomes this judgement. The government has been consistently of the view particularly which refers to Aadhar. The Right to Privacy should be a fundamental right and it should be subject to the reasonable restrictions,” Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said during a press conference.
Meanwhile, the experts believe that the Supreme Court Judgment will have an adverse effect on the fundamental principles of ruling Bhartiya Janta Party at the centre.
“This is a blow to the government because the government had argued that people don’t have a right to privacy,” said Prashant Bhushan, a senior lawyer involved in the case.
The experts believe that the historic judgment will have a bearing on the laws criminalizing homsexaulity in the country. The experts believe that the verdict will have an impact on the food consumption of an individual.
“They seek every information from you when they make an Adhaar card. With this verdict, an individual can’t be forced to give information because of the right to privacy,” advocate Babar Qadri said.
The experts believe that the verdict settles the issue that privacy is indeed a fundamental right as read into the Constitution, the issue of Aadhaar being made compulsory for various schemes is yet to be examined and decided by the Court. However, today’s verdict will also end up having an impact on that verdict.