New Delhi: In a landmark verdict, a nine-judge Supreme Court Constitutional bench today said Right to Privacy is a Fundamental right.
The Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, ruled that “right to privacy was an intrinsic part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 and entire Part III of the Constitution”.
The Supreme Court overruled the M P Sharma (1950) and Kharak Singh (1960) judgements and held that ‘right to privacy’ was a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, in a unanimous decision.
The nine-judge bench, comprising of Chief Justice of India J S Khehar and Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, Rohinton Nariman, A M Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer, had reserved the verdict on August 2 after arguments over six days.
However, the court has not ruled on the validity of sharing information under Aadhaar today. Now a five-judge bench of the apex court will test the validity of Aadhaar from the aspect of privacy as a Fundamental Right.
The question of right to privacy rose over making the Aadhaar card — a unique 12-digit ID for every citizen — mandatory. Petitions that challenged the Aadhar Act claimed it violated people’s right to privacy.
On July 26, the Centre told the apex court that there was a fundamental right to privacy, which was a ‘wholly qualified right’ too.
In special circumstances, the government can interfere in a matter that comes under a wholly qualified right. An absolute right cannot be reduced or amended.