Review on Supreme Court Case [Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) vs. Union of India]
Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right or not?
The Right to privacy has always been a topic of debate in History and the present scenario. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution states that every individual has a right to life and personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law. Many rights like the right to clean air, water, and atmosphere, right to noise-free environment etc. This Article also states that human existence not only the mere living of human beings. It also includes a right to live with dignity. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution includes the right to privacy.
The Crux of the Judgment
Unanimous Judgment passed by the Supreme Court in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) vs. Union of India in the year 2018 is a resounding victory for privacy. The right to privacy in India has developed through a series of decisions over the past 60 years. Inconsistency from early two judgments in MP Sharma vs Satish Chandra in 1954 and Kharak Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh in 1962 created a divergence of opinion on whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right.
In a milestone ruling in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) vs. Union of India, Bench of Nine Justices of India’s Supreme Court gave the judgment of 547 pages. This overturned earlier cases for each of its 1.3 billion citizens protected under the Constitution and declared “Privacy is the Constitutional core of human dignity.”
In one of the cases, Justice Louis Brandeis of the US Supreme Court associated privacy with “Right to be alone”. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India borrowed this concept. Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar said that “The privacy to be let alone is a part of the right to enjoy life and the right to enjoy life is, a part of a fundamental right to a life of an individual.”
Supreme Court Advocates petitioned the Court and challenged a Government scheme that assigns every Indian citizen a unique identification called “Aadhaar Card.”
Challenged by advocates to Government, Government said that “The scheme did not violate any civil rights.” Thereafter arguments held on that there was no Fundamental Right to privacy under the Constitution. Government praised the Court’s decision by saying that privacy rights were fundamental but not “absolute.”
To answer the question given at the beginning of this Article, we can say that the right to privacy is a Fundamental Right under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution but it is not an absolute right rather it comes with many limitations.
By Yashika Aggarwal,
A B.ComLLB 4th Year student of Banasthali Vidyapith, Rajasthan