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Aadhaar card not mandatory for social welfare schemes: SC

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said an Aadhaar card was not mandatory for availing government social welfare schemes.

Photo credit: e-aadhaar-card.blogspot.com
Photo credit: e-aadhaar-card.blogspot.com

The court said this while referring to the constitution bench, a challenge to the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme on the grounds that it violates the right to privacy.

An apex court bench headed by Justice J. Chelameswar said that it can be used as an alternative for the distribution of articles such as foodgrains as well as kerosene and LPG under the public distribution system, but under no circumstances can the authorities insist on possession of the Aadhaar card.

Pronouncing the order, the court said the government will give wide publicity to this via electronic and print media and radio.

The court also recorded the statement by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that no personal information collected at the time of issuing the Aadhaar card will be shared with any person or the authorities.

The court said the hearing by the constitution bench on the challenge to the Aadhaar card will be held as early as possible.

Earlier, the bench headed by Justice J. Chelameswar took note of the “apparent unresolved issues” while referring the matter to the constitution bench.

(IANS)

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Landmark Judgement: Right to Privacy Becomes Fundamental Right of India, Rules Supreme Court

Supreme Court today ruled, the right to privacy "is protected as an intrinsic part of Article 21 that protects life and liberty."

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Supreme Court rules Right to privacy a fundamental right
The Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia
  • Right to privacy was made a fundamental right for citizens of India
  • The decision came out unanimously by the bench of 9 judges including Chief Justice JS Khehar
  • Lawyer Prashant Bhushan noted ‘all fundamental rights come with reasonable restrictions’

New Delhi, August 24, 2017: In another landmark verdict by the Supreme Court, Right to privacy was made a fundamental right for citizens of India. Supreme Court today ruled: The right to privacy “is protected as an intrinsic part of Article 21 that protects life and liberty.”

A crowd of petitioners previously challenged the government’s Aadhaar biometric project, which has taped the iris scans and fingerprints of more than half a population.

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan noted ‘all fundamental rights come with reasonable restrictions.’ He further cautioned by saying that ‘whether Aadhaar can be seen as a reasonable restriction has yet to be decided’.

The decision came out unanimously by the bench of 9 judges including Chief Justice JS Khehar. Right to privacy is a fundamental right of every citizen, the judges said, overruling two previous Supreme Court judgments.

It is a watershed moment, remarked Sajan Poovayya, a petitioner in the case. “Whatever the state decides will be checked and tested on that basis. The powers of the state are curtailed to some extent,” he told NDTV.
Background: Government vs. Petitioners 
The government argued in the past that ‘right to privacy’ is not explicitly embodied in the Constitution as the founding fathers expelled the idea of inclusion of privacy as a fundamental liberty.
However, petitioners contended that in technologically dynamic society,  the identification of privacy as a fundamental freedom is an essential step against interference into personal space by the government and private players.

Adhar was criticised as a design which infringes privacy. India lacking the law on privacy aggravated the problem in the past.

Contentious argument: Why protect Adhaar? 

India is swiftly emerging as a digital market. Being a nation of billion mobile users, it needs laws on privacy and data protection as well.

Chances of fraudulence,  misrepresentation, ID theft are increasingly becoming the real concerns.

With the growing number of transactions done over the internet, information shared on such digital platforms become imperiled to misuse and theft.

Right to privacy bearing on Section 377

In 2013, the apex Court had supported Section 377 of the IPC, an iron fisted law that criminalizes the intimate relations “against the law of nature.” Today, the court’s decree on Right to Privacy also brought the protection of physical intimacies.

Explaining the concept of privacy, Justice DY Chandrachud, who was part of the nine-judge bench that pronounced the verdict, said in his judgment: “Privacy includes at its core the preservation of personal intimacies, the sanctity of family life, marriage, procreation, the home and sexual orientation… Privacy also connotes a right to be left alone.”


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Supreme Court Declares Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right in Indian Constitution

Previous judgements according to which Right to Privacy is not protected by the Constitution, have been over-ruled.

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Supreme Court of India has declared Right to Privacy as the fundamental right in Indian Constitution
Supreme Court of India has declared Right to Privacy as the fundamental right in Indian Constitution.Wikimedia.
  • Nine-judge bench of the apex court has declared Right to Privacy as the fundamental right.
  • Former Karnataka High Court judge, Shri Justice KS Puttaswamy was the first one to file the petition.
  • Previous judgements on the Right to Privacy by M.P. Sharma and Kharak Singh have been over-ruled.

New Delhi, August 24, 2017: In another historic judgment by Supreme Court of India, all 134 crore Indians will enjoy the right to privacy as their fundamental right.

A nine-judge constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar unanimously declared Right to Privacy a fundamental right under Article 21 of Indian Constitution.

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.

Other members of the nine-judge constitutional bench comprised 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.

Nine-judge bench today over-ruled the judgments of both eight-judge bench and six-judge bench headed by M.P. Sharma(1962) and Kharak Singh(1954) resp., which held that Right to Privacy is not protected by the Constitution.

The Right to Privacy verdict of Supreme Court is written in 547 pages. Read the verdict here: http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/pdf/LU/ALL%20WP(C)%20No.494%20of%202012%20Right%20to%20Privacy.pdf

Today, the 91-year old, former Karnataka High Court judge, Shri Justice KS Puttaswamy must be relieved after hearing this historic judgment from the apex court, as he was the first one to file a writ petition against the Union of India in this case.

“Right to Privacy has assumed an uncharted flight. I never contemplated it would comprehend so many things, but the judges may write a good judgment. It will be a memorable one for him (the one writing the judgment),” said Puttaswamy.

Senior Advocates Shyam Divan, Arvind Datar, Gopal Subramanium, Meenakshi Arora, Sajan Poovayya, Soli Sorabjee and Anand Grover had appeared for various individual petitioners arguing in favor of the Right to Privacy, mentioned Bar and Bench report.

Today’s verdict does not comment on whether the government’s demand for Aadhaar to be linked to PAN card is an infringement of privacy or not. Another small bench of judges will decide upon it.

The verdict has created a huge stir in the nation. Indian National Congress has whole heartedly welcomed the judgment.

“It was on July 20, when all the petitioners had completed their arguments. Then, on July 26, the center stepped in, Attorney General, K.K. Venugopal told the apex court that privacy, as a fundamental right, could have been mentioned in Article 21, but has been omitted. Right to life transcends right to privacy”. Then, on August 2, the apex court reserved its judgment on the issue of whether the right to privacy is fundamental or not,” mentioned ANI report.

Finally, the clouds of suspense have been cleared. Right to Privacy is declared as a fundamental right in India.

prepared by Shivani Chowdhary of NewsGram. Twitter @cshivani31

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