"A fundamental right, but wholly qualified", Centre to Supreme Court


The nine-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar, began their hearing in the case in which petitioners contest that the twelve-digit biometric unique identification card raises privacy threat.

Venugopal said this as arguments commenced on Wednesday in the course of the hearing by the nine-judge bench on the question whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right.

Venugopal, who was arguing for the government, also said "the rights under 21 are not absolute".

"Aadhaar is to secure poor's right to life - food, shelter", Venugopal said, according to Hindustan Times.

Centre cautioned the Supreme Court, saying that the privacy rights of a select few could endanger the right to life of a vast majority.

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Centre on Wednesday said in Supreme Court that right to privacy may be considered a fundamental right, but all aspects of privacy can not be put under the fundamental rights category.

On Aadhaar, he said the World Bank had said the identity system should be followed by every developing country. He goes on to say that "present societal context where advances in technology and communication have transformed the relationship between stakeholders inter se and in particular the relationship between the State and its citizens". He also argued that right to life "transcends" right to privacy. But it is a Fundamental Right.

Former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee, appearing in support of privacy right, said that even if the Constitution did not "explicitly" provide this right, it could be deduced as had been done in the case of freedom of press.

Bringing the argument of rich vs poor, Attorney General Venugopal said that right to privacy of the privileged can not be at the expense of the right to food and life of the poor. "This court needs to strike a balance", he submitted before the bench, PTI reported.

"We live in an age of big data and the state is entitled to regulate the data whether it is for the objective of regulating crime, taxation or other activities".