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Aadhaar Scheme: Is Privacy A Fundamental Right? SC's Nine Judge Bench To Decide

न्यूज़ वर्ल्ड इंडिया | 0
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| July 19 , 2017 , 15:35 IST

A nine-judge constitution bench in Supreme Court on Wednesday commenced the hearing on Aadhaar card case, in order to decide whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right or not – a question that challenges the validity of Aadhaar scheme.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday had referred the case to a nine-judge constitution bench headed by the Chief Justice Khehar to examine whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right in the Indian Constitution.

This nine judge bench, apart from the Chief Justice compromises of Justices J. Chelameswar, S.A. Bobde, R.K. Agrawal, Rohinton Fali Nariman, Abhay Manohar Sapre, D.Y. Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S. Abdul Nazeer.

The bench will examine the nature of privacy as a right in context with two prior judgments from 1954 and 1962 which did not hold the right to privacy as a fundamental right.

Referring the case on Tuesday, the constitution bench said, “During the course of the hearing today (Tuesday), it seems that it has become essential for us to determine whether there is any fundamental right to privacy under the Indian Constitution.”

“The determination of this question would essentially entail whether the decision recorded by this Court (in 1954) ...by an eight-Judge Constitution Bench, and also, ... by a six-Judge Constitution Bench (in 1962), that there is no such fundamental right, is the correct expression of the constitutional position," said the bench of five judges in their order on Tuesday.

The court also said that the nine-judge bench will also examine the correctness of the position taken by an eight-judge bench in 1954, and subsequently by a six-judge bench in 1962.

However, ever since the mid-1970s, most benches have consistently taken privacy as a fundamental right.

The issue whether privacy is a fundamental right or not is pivotal to the challenge of Aadhaar Scheme’s validity. Many petitioners have contended that collection of personal information like iris scan and fingerprints is a violation of their right to privacy.

The apex court has said that the nine-judge bench will decide whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right or not. All matters relating to the Aadhaar scheme will go back to the original three-judge bench having the bench’s decision on privacy in mind.

The hearing by the nine-judge constitution bench is expected to conclude on Wednesday itself, however, considering the complexity of the case, it’s also possible that the hearing may be extended for another day.