How the Supreme Court verdict upholding right to privacy as a fundamental right of citizens will define the further course of Aadhaar? Discuss giving reference to various issues.
The Supreme Court verdict ends the legal gridlock on whether the right to privacy is fundamental right or not. This judgement is not directly on Aadhaar but on fundamental rights rather.
Hitherto, the government’s counsels were giving arguments that the right to privacy is not a fundamental right. The government counsels argued that privacy as a concept was “too amorphous” to be declared a fundamental right.
At the same time, the SC has also not declared right to privacy as an absolute fundamental right. Instead, like others, this FR is also subject to reasonable restrictions. Further, Supreme Court has also not outlined what exactly would include under the right to privacy, not at least to the extent that it may undoubtedly hamper the Aadhaar project. The petitioners would use this judgement to get some provisions of Aadhaar unconstitutional in next hearings on such cases.
Thus, the recent judgement does not affect Aadhaar immediately. SC has already declared that Aadhaar was purely voluntary and now it has to be seen how court responds to the petitions that say that Aadhaar scheme violates privacy. Court’s view on some of the issues such as mandatory collection of biometric data, deployment of private players for collection of the information, extent of authentication of data storage may decide the future course of Aadhaar with respect to Right to privacy as fundamental right.
This judgement will also lead to a stronger data protection regime in the country because government is pushing towards the use of Aadhaar in various sectors like public distribution system, digital transactions etc. and there are no laws to safeguard the misuse of personal data. The government is working on some data protection regimes and this work will be more important now.