Right To Privacy [Day-2]

  • July 20, 2017
  • 10:39 am
  • Harsh Vardhan Tripathi

Hearing on right to privacy before the nine-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court continued for the second consecutive day today. The petitioners made a persuasive case for a broad definition of the right to privacy.

Arvind Dattar, Senior Counsel for Petitioners

Arvind Dattar, senior counsel for the petitioners, argued that right to privacy flows from Article 14 (right to equality), Article 19 (freedom of expression) and Article 21 (right to life). The court must not strictly lay the right to privacy under a single article, he said.

Dattar argued that only the broad contours could be laid down rather than a strict definition. He said that neither the definition nor the restrictions should be laid exhaustively.

Justice Chelameswar remarked that “the right to privacy may have vague contours but not clear boundaries”.

Justice Chandrachud questioned senior counsel Anand Grover arguing for the petitioners and posed that how far the right to not to disclose identity can be protected especially when the state is using or collecting the data for social welfare schemes.

Justice Chandrachud

“So can a citizen refuse to give his name or details of his parents, or can a single mother choose not to share particulars of the father,” questioned Justice Chandrachud.

The apex court also questioned the extent of data use and protection. The court said that a distinction must be drawn between legitimate and illegitimate data. For example when a state uses artificial intelligence to predispose an investigation or to identify “future criminals”, that profiling is illegal. If the data is collected for socio-economic scheme or program that data won’t be termed as illegal profiling.

Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, suggesting a broad definition, suggested, “Between liberty and privacy, there is a concept of dignity. If sharing one’s information bothers one’s integrity, then it will impinge upon privacy,” and hinted that privacy can be read into Article 21 (right to life).

The petitioners have finished their arguments. Now the Centre will begin its arguments on July 25.

The nine-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court started hearing the right to privacy matter yesterday. It said that there is a need to define privacy and every aspect of liberty is not privacy.

The Chief Justice-headed Constitution bench’s observation came after senior counsel Gopal Subramanimum argued that fundamental ideas of liberty and freedom cannot exist without the right to privacy.