Privacy challenge to Aadhaar scheme may go to larger SC bench

New Delhi,  (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its order on the central government’s plea that the challenge to the Aadhaar scheme on the grounds of its being violative of the right to privacy be referred to a large bench of five judges to decide whether privacy was at all a fundamental right or not.

A bench of Justice J.Chelameswar, Justice S.A.Bobde and Justice G. Nagappan reserved the order after long arguments spread over many weeks wherein the government had contended that privacy was not a fundamental right as being projected by the petitioners challenging the validity of the Aadhaar scheme.

Seeking a clear pronouncement by bench of five judges on the question, the government has contended that an eight judge bench of the apex court in 1954 and later a bench of six judges in 1964 had held that the privacy was not a fundamental right that could be read in the constitution’s article 21 guaranteeing protection of life and personal liberty.

Insisting upon the clarification by a larger bench on the status of privacy as just a right or a fundamental right, it argued that pronouncements by smaller bench of two or three judges from mid-1970s onwards till date elevating privacy as a fundamental right were inconsistent with the 1954 and 1964 pronouncements.

On the other hand the batch of petitioners in the main petition by Justice (Retd.) K.S. Puttaswamy had contended that privacy was a fundamental right that resides in article 21, and collecting the biometric data of the people under Aadhaar was invasion of their Aprivacy.

As court reserved its order that is likely to be pronounced on August 11, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi gave five questions for its (court’s) consideration that includes the conflicting judgments of the apex court on the status of privacy as a right.



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