9-judge SC bench declares privacy is a fundamental right

The Supreme Court of India declared privacy a

The Supreme Court of India declared privacy a"guaranteed fundamental right of citizens Thursday

"It is an individual's choice as to who enters his house, how he lives and in what relationship", the judges said in their ruling, which explicitly referred to the 2013 decision. "That is the point that I had raised", he said. But since all fundamental rights come with restrictions, one has to wait to see if the Aadhar card can be seen as a reasonable restriction.

As of today, that requirement has been deemed a violation of a fundamental right to privacy.

This question on the constitutional status of privacy as a fundamental right of an Indian citizen had perplexed the Indian lawmakers since long. "Aadhaar Act & any other law will be tested on reasonableness".

The bench comprised Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and Justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde, RK Agrawal, Rohinton Nariman, AM Sapre, DY Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer.

It now means that private details regarding marriage, sexuality and even sexual orientation need not be revealed and citizens can not be can not be compelled to disclose them if they choose not to.

But the judges also acknowledged there must be restrictions within reason on individual privacy. Privacy safeguards individual autonomy and recognises the ability of the individual to control vital aspects of his or her life.

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The government has rejected suggestions that the program, set up in 2009, poses a threat to civil liberties, despite personal data being leaked in security breaches.

Soli Sorabjee: "It is a very progressive judgment and protects the fundamental rights of the people".

Previous SC judgments had mixed views on recognising privacy as a fundamental right.

Expressing optimism that the Indian citizens would now be protected from any kind of snooping, senior lawyer Indira Jaising said, "It is a day to celebrate". "This verdict prevents any kind of snooping", she said. Equality demands that the rights of all individuals be protected irrespective of their gender, caste, creed, sexual orientation, etc.

Both sides of the political divide hailed the verdict and claimed victory. "So it can not be 'either-or.' It has to be a fundamental right with narrowly defined exceptions". "It strikes a blow on the unbridled encroachment and surveillance by the state and its agencies in the life of the common man", she said in a statement. However, the petitions will now be heard in the light of the fact that privacy has been deemed a fundamental right that is intrinsic to Article 21 and is part of the freedoms guaranteed under Part III of the constitution.

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