NEW DELHI: In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday declared right to privacy a fundamental right under the Constitution.
A nine-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar ruled that right to privacy is an intrinsic part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty guaranteed under Article 21 and entire Part III of the Constitution.
In a historic verdict, the nine judges unanimously overruled the two earlier judgements of the apex court that right to privacy is not protected under the Constitution. Others members of the bench 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 also shared the same view.
Several petitioners had challenged the validity of the Aadhaar biometric identify cards scheme on the grounds that it violated the right to privacy.
The court had also voiced concern over the possible misuse of personal information in the public domain. The question whether Aadhaar violates right to privacy will be dealt with by the five-judge bench which has been hearing the petitions since 2015.
The judges concluded: “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”.
Reacting to the judgement, former Finance Minister and Congress spokesperson P Chidambaram said: “The Congress party welcomes the unanimous judgement of the Supreme Court declaring that Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right. The judgement delivered today is a landmark verdict and will rank among the most important judgments delivered by the Supreme Court since the advent of the Constitution of India.ÂÂ
Describing Privacy as being at the core of Personal Liberty, Mr Chidambaram said, `’the most important fundamental right of a citizen is embodied in Article 21 of the Constitution. It is the Right to Life and Liberty.ÂÂ
Welcoming the Supreme Court verdict, the CPI(M) Polit Bueau said: “This landmark judgment should pave the way to protect, in this world of technology advance dominated by corporates, misuse of private data and infringing upon the privacy of individuals.ÂÂ
The party noted that a separate five-member bench will decide on the issue of mandatory Aaadhar that this (Modi) government is pushing through.