NEW DELHI: A nine-judge Supreme Court bench unanimously ruled on Thursday that privacy is a fundamental right+ , protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty and as part of the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution+ .
Here is a citizen’s guide to the SC verdict:
Can I be forced to get an Aadhaar card? If I already have one, do I still have to link it with my bank account, PAN card, mobile number…
A 3-judge bench will examine if Aadhaar is still valid+ . Most likely, Aadhaar will stay, but there will be clear guidelines for its usage. Thursday’s ruling allows government to collate data without being accused of violating privacy if it is done for national security or for effective distribution of scarce national resources, food and other essential items.
Does the judgment decriminalise consensual sexual relations among members of the LGBT community?
The court has observed that one’s sexual orientation is undoubtedly an attribute of privacy. The right to privacy cannot be denied even if a small fraction of the population is affected. In an earlier judgment, a two-judge bench of the SC had upheld Section 377. On Thursday, the 9-member bench termed the earlier judgment as “completely flawed”. A pending petition may soon get decided along the lines indicated by the bench.
The SC recognises the challenge posed by sharing of personal data and firms collating them to create meta-data for commercial exploitation. It has asked the govt to provide a robust data protection regime. New law on data collection and usage are already in the making.
What about beef ban, prohibition and other such restrictions?
Most of these restrictions are enforced under existing laws. But anyone who has a problem with these laws can now challenge them directly in the SC, on the ground that these provisions violate his right to privacy and personal choice.
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