Right to Privacy – Verdict by Supreme Court

Written By: Eesha 

The world aspires to live in a freedom loving place. After all, a society is judged by the broadened horizons and a more progressive and happier tomorrow. Individual rights are therefore present. These fulfil the purpose of presenting liberties to each individual to pursue life and goals without interference from other individuals or the government.

The Supreme Court on 24th August 2017 ruled that privacy is a fundamental right because it is intrinsic to the Right to Life. This right delivered by a rare nine-member bench is based on an array of petitions that challenge the mandatory use of Aadhaar cards for availing benefits of various social welfare schemes. Petitioner says that enforcing the use of Aadhaar is an infringement of privacy.

The landmark Supreme Court’s verdict has also ushered in hope for the gay and LGBT community that dealt a blow by the very same court when it criminalised homosexuality under Section 377. The court now holds that privacy and protection of sexual orientation lie at the core of the Fundamental Right under Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution. The court says:

“Their rights are not ‘so-called’ but are real rights founded on sound constitutional doctrine. They inhere in the Right to Life. They dwell in privacy and dignity. They constitute the essence of liberty and freedom. Sexual orientation is an essential component of identity. Equal protection demands protection of the identity without discrimination.”

Another important aspect of privacy is data protection, and now that privacy is a Fundamental Right, new legislation will have to come in to regulate entities who collect data. This right has also led to the supporting of arguments on euthanasia, abortion and marital rapes. Given the miscellaneous debates on these conflicting issues, the addition of Right to Privacy in the Constitution seems like the answer to their legality.

What the judgement has marshalled to, is to open a bundle of possibilities. Privacy is a wide ranging concept and now many freedoms could find a new life under it. While a Right to Privacy is established, various cases will come up before the court which will challenge State actions and will thus sculpt the actual contours of the Right. But as they say, change is inevitable, and slowly but surely, the true effects of the ruling will unveil in an efficacious direction.

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