SC says Right to Privacy cannot be absolute right, State may have some power to put reasonable restriction on it
Terming ‘right to privacy’ as “amorphous”, the Supreme Court held that privacy is not absolute and cannot prevent the state from making laws imposing reasonable restrictions on citizens.
The Supreme Court on 19 July 2017 said that the Right to Privacy cannot be an absolute right and the state may have some power to put reasonable restriction. The decision came when the Apex Court’s nine-judge Constitution bench was examining the issue whether the Right to Privacy can be declared as a Fundamental Right under the Constitution.
During the day-long hearing, the bench said, Right to Privacy is an amorphous right and not absolute. It is only a small sub-sect of liberty.
In addition to this, the bench headed by the Chief Justice JS Khehar also asked the Union Government and others to assist it about the contours and ambit of test on which the width and scope of the Right to Privacy will be tested and also of its infringement, if any, by the State.
Other members of the bench include Justice J Chelameswar, Justice S A Bobde, Justice R K Agrawal, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice S Abdul Nazeer.
The bench said we live in an age of big data and the state is entitled to regulate the data whether it is for the purpose of regulating crime, taxation or other activities. The argument will continue on 20 July 2017 and the Attorney General is likely to put the government's view across.
At present, the apex court is revisiting the question of privacy; five decades after the Supreme Court decided that privacy is not a basic right for citizens.
The decision of the nine-judge Bench on whether privacy is a fundamental right or not will be pivotal to the petitioners’ challenge that Aadhaar, which mandates citizens to part with their biometrics, is unconstitutional.