Before a nine-judge bench of SC hearing validity of Aadhaar, challenged on the ground of violating right to privacy, attorney general K K Venugopal had cited two SC judgments — one by an eight-judge bench in 1954 and another by a six-judge bench in 1962— to argue that privacy is a common law right and petitioners could not complain of breach of privacy due to collection of biometric data of citizens for Aadhaar.
As arguments heated up between senior advocates Harish Salve and Kapil Sibal, who crossed swords for the petitioner and WhatsApp, respectively, additional solicitor general P S Narasimha stepped in and said: “Personal data is an extension of an individual’s personality. Data of a personality is integral to right to life guaranteed under Article 21.”
“If any contractual agreement impinges on the privacy of personal data, it violates Article 21. At this juncture, the government has the power and obligation to step in,” Narasimha said.
Though the case saw some rapid fire exchanges, all concerned including the bench and all sides in the dispute agreed that the issue of privacy will need to be addressed and it might be best to wait till it is settled by the nine-judge bench hearing the challenge to Aadhar on the grounds that privacy is a fundamental right. The government, in the Aadhar case, is arguing that reasonable restrictions can be imposed on individual’s privacy.
Source : timesofindia