Privacy not a fundamental right, cannot be invoked to scrap Aadhaar: Centre tells SC

The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the right to privacy is not a fundamental right, adding that it cannot be invoked to scrap the Aadhar scheme.

hidden July 23, 2015 09:39:10 IST
Privacy not a fundamental right, cannot be invoked to scrap Aadhaar: Centre tells SC

New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the right to privacy is not a fundamental right under the Constitution, adding that it cannot be invoked to scrap the Aadhar scheme.

A day after it told the apex court that it would be too late to scrap the Aadhar scheme, the Centre said that a "fool proof" system would be in place for the implementation of this welfare programme.

Privacy not a fundamental right cannot be invoked to scrap Aadhaar Centre tells SC

Supreme Court. Image courtesy- Reuters

"Right to privacy is not a fundamental right under our Constitution. It flows from one right to another right. Constitution makers did not intend to make right to privacy a fundamental right... so these petitions under Article 32 should be dismissed," Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted before a bench headed by  Justice J Chelameswar which during the course of hearing said, "We are inclined to refer it to the larger Constitution
bench".

Rohatgi was countering the contention that the scheme of Aadhar based on collecting personal data violates the citizens right to privacy. "Right to privacy is not absolute and is subject to restrictions," he said.

The Attorney General said the plea for scrapping the Aadhar scheme on the ground there is violation of the right to privacy cannot be allowed.
The AG said the question of any violation does not arise when it is not exist as a fundamental right and asked the court to refer the case to a five-judge Constitution bench to decide whether it can be declared as such.

"We are formulating a fool proof system," he submitted before the bench, also comprising Justice S A Bobde and C Nagappan, which asked if "a person would bargain his fundamental right to privacy to get a fundamental right of food".

Rohatgi said that there is a "clear divergence of opinion" on the right to privacy and "a classic case of unclear position of law". Further, he said the makers of the Constitution also did not intend to make it a fundamental right, referring to apex court judgements in this regard.

The court was hearing a batch of pleas against the decisions of some states to make Aadhaar cards compulsory for a range of activities including salary, PF disbursements and marriage and property registration.

PTI

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