Supreme Court declares Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right
In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court on August 24th unanimously ruled that the right to privacy was a fundamental right under the Constitution. A nine-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar ruled that “right to privacy is an intrinsic part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 and entire Part III of the Constitution“.
The ruling on the highly contentious issue was to deal with a batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes.
This judgement is a blow to Aadhaar as the Centre now has to convince SC that forcing citizens to give a sample of their fingerprints and their iris scan does not violate privacy.
The SC bench's judgement will touch the lives of 134 crore Indians. It was not meant to decide on the fate of Aadhaar, just on whether privacy of an individual was a part of their inviolable fundamental rights. What this means is a five-judge bench of the SC will test the validity of Aadhaar on the touchstone of privacy as a fundamental right.