Right to Privacy- A Fundamental Right?

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INTRODUCTION

After 70 years of independence, our country has tasted a new type of freedom; freedom where privacy has been considered as a right. On 24 August 2017, the Supreme court of India passed a new progressive judgment with significant consequences. Supreme Court verdict on 24 August upheld the Right to Privacy as a fundamental right because it is intrinsic to the right to life. "Right to privacy is an integral part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution," the SC's nine-judge bench ruled agreeing. It is a huge blow to AADHAR case as now the center has to convince the court that aadhar card doesn't violate the privacy law.

AADHAR CASE

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 There are several issues pertaining to Aadhaar that need clarity and assurance from the government. MODI govt. has taken several measures to make aadhar card the most important and mandatory document for all services. The reliability of Aadhaar database has been questioned. Aadhaar initially had no legal backing during the UPA government. The NDA formed Aadhaar Act 2016 but took the Money Bill route, saving it from the surveillance of Rajya Sabha, which cannot be called a good precedent for India’s democracy.

For the first time, the government has personal information about all citizens of the country. It has been claimed by many that Aadhaar infringes on the right to privacy of individuals. Earlier the right to privacy was not considered as a fundamental right. The apex court has now set up a nine-judge bench to settle this case and examine its past judgments. 

Not only privacy but the other issue related to Aadhar is security. As it has biometric data of all the citizens of the country. If the decision is taken in favor of Aadhar scheme. So, the SC has to ensure that the Centre comes up with a fool-proof mechanism to secure Aadhaar database.

THE JUDGEMENT

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When the Aadhaar case was being argued, this issue came up for consideration which was referred to a nine-judge Constitutional Bench.The nine judges, through six concurring opinions, held that privacy is a constitutionally protected right that emerges from the right to life and liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the constitution, which is inseparable from the right to live with dignity.

Earlier the right to privacy was not considered as a legal or fundamental right. Various judgments of the Supreme Court had recognized privacy as part of fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, but there were some other judgments wherein it was stated that privacy is not a fundamental right. This led to massive confusion. But now all the confusion is cleared for once and all by making the right to privacy as a fundamental right. 

It was clarified that the judiciary did not create a new right in this case but merely granted recognition to a right that already existed as the ‘constitutional core of human dignity,’ privacy, wrote Justice Chandrachud. 

This clarification was crucial to prevent the dilution of the right in the future on the whims and fancies of the government in power.

CONCLUSION

By declaring the right to privacy as a fundamental Right, the Supreme Court has upheld hopes, objectives, and expectations of the Indian citizens as a whole. This judgment is likely to have an enormous impact on a variety of pending cases including the Aadhaar case. This fundamental Right To Privacy is further going to help in strengthening the growth of India as a nation as it proceeds forward to deal with various challenges in this digital world.

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Post Author: Rishabh Singh