Published: Sat, July 15, 2017
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

Right to privacy violated by Aadhaar?

Right to privacy violated by Aadhaar?

The Supreme Court of India today agreed to hear petitions challenging the Aadhaar Act, especially the concern over whether it breaches people's right to privacy.

The five-judge bench would examine the challenge to Aadhaar scheme with reference to 1954 decision of an eight-judge bench and 1964 decision of a six-judge bench - both holding that the right to privacy was not a fundamental right - and decide whether it required hearing by a bench of nine judges. On October 7, 2015, the three-judge Bench, referred to a Constitution Bench, the question whether by enrolling for Aadhaar to access government welfare services, a person can voluntarily cast off his right to privacy. The court also indicated that the 5 judge Bench will commence hearing on the petitions from Tuesday, July 18 onwards.

Despite a Bench led by him, in 2015, Justice Chelameswar enquired why the court had not heard the main plea on the constitutionality of Aadhaar, having referred it for hearing by a Constitution Bench.

When Divan said it would take some time to argue the matter, the bench said, "You should give the bench your written submissions and then argue".

The bench had said it will depend upon the Chief Justice of India to decide whether the matter can be examined by a bench of seven or nine judges.

The Supreme Court had refused to pass an interim order against the Centre's notification making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of social welfare schemes on June 27.

The petitions were filed after Centre notified making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of social welfare schemes.

Divan is appearing in Aadhaar matter since 2013, starting with appearing for former Karnataka High Court judge Justice K.S.Puttaswamy who had challenged Aadhaar's constitutional validity. The government had, however, said no one would be deprived of any benefit because of Aadhaar. Many have termed the Aadhaar scheme "pernicious" as it is an unwarranted intrusion into the private lives of citizens.

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