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Supreme Court rules right to privacy is a fundamental right

Whether Aadhaar can be seen as a reasonable restriction yet not decided.

Supreme Court rules right to privacy is a fundamental right August 24, 2017

n a landmark verdict in favour of people across the country and set back to the central government, the Supreme Court today ruled that privacy is a constitutional right. Today’s verdict does not comment on whether the government’s demand for Aadhar to be linked to all financial transactions amounts to an infringement of privacy. While passing the order, all nine judges unanimously in their finding, though they cited different reasons for their conclusion. The Supreme Court while passing the order said that “The right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution”.

Main points of the Judgment

  • The right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of article 21 that protects life and liberty
  • The order is based on an array of petitions that have challenged the mandatory use of Aadhaar cards which assign a unique 12-digit ID to every citizen.
  • All fundamental rights come with reasonable restrictions. Whether Aadhaar can be seen as a reasonable restriction has yet to be decided.
  • Judges had earlier said that Indians are already providing vast troves of personal information to online platforms like Apple and Google.
  • The petitioners in today’s case  had  stressed that the Aadhaar database was originally presented as a purely voluntary programme that offered to provide every Indian with an identity card.
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