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SC upholds Right to Privacy highlights: Opposition lauds judgment, Narendra Modi yet to respond

The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce on Thursday its judgment on the vexatious issue whether the right to privacy can be held as a fundamental right.

FP Staff August 24, 2017 21:59:52 IST
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SC upholds Right to Privacy highlights: Opposition lauds judgment, Narendra Modi yet to respond

Highlights

21:04 (ist)

Decision to terminate life falls under ambit of law, says Justice J Chelameswar

Justice J Chelameswar, who wrote a separate but concurring judgement, also touched upon other aspects like consumption of food and a woman's freedom of choice on whether to terminate pregnancy.

"Concerns of privacy arise when the state seeks to intrude into the body of subjects. Corporeal punishments were not unknown to India, their abolition is of a recent vintage. Forced feeding of certain persons by the state raises concerns of privacy," he said.

"An individual's rights to refuse life-prolonging medical treatment or terminate his life is another freedom which fall within the zone of the right of privacy," Justice Chelameswar said in his 44-page verdict.

20:17 (ist)

Opposition hails verdict but Narendra Modi remains eerily silent

While Modi was prompt in supporting the triple talaq verdict, calling it 'historic' just minutes after the ruling, he is yet to issue a statement on the Right to Privacy ruling of Thursday. The only official response from the government has come from Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

"Narendra Modi government welcomes the judgment and it has been of the view, particularly with respect to Aadhaar, that Right to Privacy should be a fundamental right," Prasad said. 

Not just Modi, Union minister Smriti Irani and Sushma Swaraj have also tweeted about Deuba's visit but nothing about the Right to Privacy verdict.

19:43 (ist)

Verdict was reserved after marathon arguments for six days

Justice Khehar, who read the operative portion of the judgement, said the subsequent verdicts pronounced after MP Sharma and Kharak Singh have laid down the correct position of the law. Before pronouncing the judgement, the CJI said that among the nine judges some of them have authored different orders.

The verdict was reserved after hearing marathon arguments for six days over a period of three weeks, during which submissions were advanced in favour and against the inclusion of the right to privacy as a fundamental right.

18:01 (ist)

Arun Jaitley says privacy as a fundamental right will be respected

Finance minister Arun Jaitley welcomes Supreme Court's verdict, says object of restrictions will vary from case to case and can must be fair.

12:33 (ist)

Justice KS Puttaswamy: The 91-year-old who predicted a unanimous verdict

Justice KS Puttaswamy, whose original petition led to the right to privacy judgment today, had predicted on Wednesday that the Supreme Court's nine-judge Constitution bench will come out with a unanimous decision, according to an article by Bar and Bench.

"What the Supreme Court will rule, I cannot say. I will also wait anxiously for the judgment. I am expecting a unanimous judgment,” he has been quoted as saying. He also said that the judgment will be 500-600 pages.

The 91-year-old is a former Karnataka High Court judge. He had in 2012 filed a petition challenging the mandatory Aadhaar use for PDS, LPG, MNREGA, Pension scheme, Jan Dhan Yojna. It is this petition that set off many other petitions and an order against making Aadhaar mandatory for government services

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Aug 24, 2017 - 21:04 (IST)

Decision to terminate life falls under ambit of law, says Justice J Chelameswar

Justice J Chelameswar, who wrote a separate but concurring judgement, also touched upon other aspects like consumption of food and a woman's freedom of choice on whether to terminate pregnancy.

"Concerns of privacy arise when the state seeks to intrude into the body of subjects. Corporeal punishments were not unknown to India, their abolition is of a recent vintage. Forced feeding of certain persons by the state raises concerns of privacy," he said.

"An individual's rights to refuse life-prolonging medical treatment or terminate his life is another freedom which fall within the zone of the right of privacy," Justice Chelameswar said in his 44-page verdict.

Aug 24, 2017 - 20:34 (IST)

Right to Privacy must be protected against state, non-state actors, says Justice Sanjay Kaul

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, who wrote a separate but concurring judgement with eight other judges, expressed apprehension that the growth and development of technology has created new instruments for the possible invasion of privacy by the State, including through surveillance, profiling and data collection and processing.

Elaborating on the privacy issue, Justice Kaul used an anecdote that "if the individual permits someone to enter the house, it does not mean that others can enter the house."

He said it is an individual's choice as to who enters his house, how he lives and in what relationship.

Aug 24, 2017 - 20:17 (IST)

Opposition hails verdict but Narendra Modi remains eerily silent

While Modi was prompt in supporting the triple talaq verdict, calling it 'historic' just minutes after the ruling, he is yet to issue a statement on the Right to Privacy ruling of Thursday. The only official response from the government has come from Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

"Narendra Modi government welcomes the judgment and it has been of the view, particularly with respect to Aadhaar, that Right to Privacy should be a fundamental right," Prasad said. 

Not just Modi, Union minister Smriti Irani and Sushma Swaraj have also tweeted about Deuba's visit but nothing about the Right to Privacy verdict.

Aug 24, 2017 - 20:13 (IST)

Nandan Nilekani lauds SC verdict on Right to Privacy

Aug 24, 2017 - 20:08 (IST)

Section 377 may be on the cards after Right to Privacy judgment

Aug 24, 2017 - 19:43 (IST)

Verdict was reserved after marathon arguments for six days

Justice Khehar, who read the operative portion of the judgement, said the subsequent verdicts pronounced after MP Sharma and Kharak Singh have laid down the correct position of the law. Before pronouncing the judgement, the CJI said that among the nine judges some of them have authored different orders.

The verdict was reserved after hearing marathon arguments for six days over a period of three weeks, during which submissions were advanced in favour and against the inclusion of the right to privacy as a fundamental right.

Aug 24, 2017 - 19:20 (IST)

Govt threw the Right to Privacy into doubt in 2015, says advocate Rahul Narayan

Rahul Narayan, an advocate of Supreme Court, goes on record for one of the petitioners in this case, says the Right to Privacy is an important part of Article 21 and the implications for it will be huge for every citizen of the country. Watch the lawyer speak here

Aug 24, 2017 - 19:12 (IST)

Watch Lok Sabha MP Baijayant Panda's take on data protection

The Dialogue, a Delhi based public-policy startup conducted the Policy Talk with Biju Janata Dal's Lok Sabha MP Baijayant Panda on data protection, privacy, and the Data (Privacy and Protection) Bill 2017, which he tabled in the Parliament. Watch Panda speak on privacy here.

Aug 24, 2017 - 19:07 (IST)

A nine-judge bench came together for a big decision, says lawyer S Prasanna

Delhi lawyer Prasanna S, who assisted some of the petitioners in this case, says a nine-judge bench does not usually assemble for a verdict. This is the 15th or 16th time that a nine-judge bench has come together for a big decision. Watch him speak here.
 

Aug 24, 2017 - 18:39 (IST)

By terming sexual orientation an 'essential attribute', SC brings cheer to LGBT rights

The 547- page judgement added that the Right to Privacy and the protection of sexual orientation lie at the core of the fundamental rights guaranteed by articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.

Justice DY Chandrachud, one of the nine judges, said, "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." Read more here.

The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce on Thursday its judgment on the vexatious issue whether the right to privacy can be held as a fundamental right under the Constitution.

A nine-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar had on 2 August reserved its verdict after hearing marathon arguments for six days over a period of three weeks, during which submissions were advanced in favour and against the inclusion of the right to privacy as a fundamental right.

Besides CJI Khehar, the other judges of the nine-judge bench are Justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde, RK Agrawal, RF Nariman, AM Sapre, DY Chandrachud, SK Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer.

SC upholds Right to Privacy highlights Opposition lauds judgment Narendra Modi yet to respond

Representational image. AFP

The high-voltage hearing saw a battery of senior lawyers, including Attorney-General KK Venugopal, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, Arvind Datar, Kapil Sibal, Gopal Subaramaniam, Shyam Divan, Anand Grover, CA Sundaram and Rakesh Dwivedi, advancing arguments either in favour of or against the inclusion of right to privacy as a fundamental right.

The contentious issue had emerged when the apex court was dealing with a batch of petitions challenging the Centre's move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes.

Initially, on 7 July, a three-judge bench had said that all issues arising out of Aadhaar should finally be decided by a larger bench and the Chief Justice of India would take a call on the need for setting up a constitution bench.

The matter was then mentioned before CJI Khehar who set up a five-judge constitution bench to hear the matter.

However, the five-judge constitution bench on 18 July decided to set up a nine-judge bench to decide whether the right to privacy can be declared a fundamental right under the Constitution.

The decision to set up the nine-judge bench was taken to examine the correctness of two apex court judgments delivered in the cases of Kharak Singh and MP Sharma, decided by six and eight-judge benches respectively, in which it was held that this right was not a fundamental right.

While the Kharak Singh judgment was delivered in 1962, the MP Sharma verdict was reported in 1954.

While reserving the verdict on 2 August, the bench had voiced concern over the possible misuse of personal information in the public domain and said that protection of the concept of privacy in the all-pervading technological era was a "losing battle".

During the arguments, the bench had on 19 July observed that the right to privacy cannot be an absolute right and the state may have some power to put reasonable restrictions.

The attorney-general had also contended that right to privacy cannot fall in the bracket of fundamental rights as there were binding decisions of larger benches that it was only a common law right evolved through judicial decisions.

The Centre had termed privacy as a "vague and amorphous" right which cannot be granted primacy to deprive poor people of their rights to life, food and shelter.

The high-profile arguments also saw the apex court asking searching questions about the contours of right to privacy in the digital age when personal information was randomly shared with all types of government and private entities.

The bench had wanted to know about the tests which could be used to regulate and enforce privacy right when there could be "legitimate or illegitimate" use of data.

Meanwhile, the petitioners had contended that the right to privacy was "inalienable" and "inherent" to the most important fundamental right which is the right to liberty.

They had said that right to liberty, which also included right to privacy, was a pre-existing "natural right" which the Constitution acknowledged and guaranteed to the citizens in case of infringement by the state.

The apex court, during the hearing, favoured overarching guidelines to protect private information in public domain and said there was a need to "maintain the core of privacy" as the notion of privacy was fast becoming irrelevant in an all-pervading technological era.

With inputs from agencies

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