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Supreme Court Verdict: Individual Privacy Is A Fundamental Right, Rules 9-Judge Bench Unanimously

न्यूज़ वर्ल्ड इंडिया | 0
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| August 24 , 2017 , 11:06 IST

In a landmark judgement, a 9-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday pronounced their verdict that 'Right To Privacy' is a fundamental right.

The question regarding the constitutional status of the right to privacy came up through various petitions led by retired High Court Judge K S Puttaswamy who had challenged the UPA government's decision in 2012 to introduce biometric data-enabled Aadhaar ID card for citizens.

On August 11, 2015 the question was referred to a five-judge Constitution bench led by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar but was told by the centre that the strength of the bench was inadequate as an 8-judge bench in the 1954 case of M P Sharma and a 6-judge bench in the 1962 case of Kharak Singh had both ruled that the Right to Privacy was not a fundamental right.

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The matter was then referred to a 9-judge bench which conducted hearings from July 19 to August 2.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, on behalf of the centre, had said, "Privacy, even if assumed to be a fundamental right, consists of a large number of sub-species... It will be constitutionally impermissible to declare each and every instance of privacy a fundamental right. Privacy has varied connotations when examined from different aspects of liberties."

"If the SC wants to declare it a fundamental right, then it probably has to determine separately the various aspects of privacy and the extent of violation that could trigger a constitutional remedy," he added.

The argument was presented to a bench of Justices Khehar, J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, R F Nariman, A M Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, Sanjay K Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer regarding the constitutional complications intrinsic to the right to privacy.

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On the last day of the hearing, Justice Chandrachud outlined a proposal for a three-tier, graded fundamental right status to privacy.

"The first zone could be the most intimate zone of privacy concerning marriage, sexuality, relation with family, and law should frown upon any intrusion," said Justice Chandrachud.

"The State could still intrude into this intimate zone in extraordinary circumstances provided it met stringent norms. Second would be the private zone, which involves parting of personal data by use of credit card, social network platforms, I-T declarations. In this sphere, personal data... ... will be used only for the purpose for which it is shared by an individual. Third is the public zone, where privacy protection requires minimal regulation. Here, personal data shared will not mean the right to privacy is surrendered. Individual will retain his privacy to body and mind," he had said.