<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A nine-Judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will on Thursday pronounce its judgment on whether citizens have a fundamental Right to Privacy under the Indian Constitution.The decision of the bench, comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde, RK Agrawal, Rohinton Nariman, AM Sapre, DY Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer, will have far-reaching impact since it could also revisit two earlier judgments delivered decades ago which declared that the right to privacy was not a fundamental right.It will also have an effect on the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for almost everything, an action that has led to a clutch of petitions being filed in various courts.Some of these petitions challenged the legal status of Aadhaar itself.The Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, who retires on August 27, had heard the matter over a period of three weeks.The debate over whether privacy is a fundamental right was triggered when the top court was hearing a batch of petitions that challenged the constitutional validity of the Centre’s unique numbering system – Aadhaar.Thrice a week over a period of three weeks, a battery of lawyers representing various petitioners, the Centre and various states argued around the concept of privacy as a common law right protected by statutory rights, or whether it was fundamental to a human’s existence.During hearing, the bench had observed that privacy could not be an absolute right. It had also observed that steps need to be taken to give data protection a statutory recognition. “This (issue of privacy) is a new procedure for us,” Justice Rohinton Nariman had observed. “There is no established procedure till date and we will need all the assistance particularly on the parameters of the issue,” he had said.Justice Chandrachud had said: “It is all well and good to argue about privacy in the abstract, But What are its contents? What are the contours? How can the State regulate privacy?”Interestingly, during hearing, the counsel for the petitioners had referred to a speech by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament during discussion on the Aadhaar Bill where he had said that the right to privacy was a fundamental right.
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