Aadhaar card privacy issue: Supreme Court refers matter to nine-judge bench

Aadhaar card privacy issue: Supreme Court refers matter to nine-judge bench

Aadhaar card privacy issue: Supreme Court refers matter to nine-judge bench

The decision to place this issue before a 9-judge Bench was taken today by a 5-judge Constitution Bench hearing the Aadhaar case.

The judgments in MP Sharma, rendered by an 8-judge Bench in 1954, and Kharak Singh, rendered in 1962 by a 6-judge Bench, are the those which discuss the Right to Privacy as a facet of Fundamental Rights under Article 21 of the Constitution.

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On 13 July, the Supreme Court ruled for the setting of a constitution bench to address the long standing question of whether Indian citizens have the right to privacy, and if Aadhaar breaches that right.

The petitions were referred to a larger bench in 2015 when then attorney general Mukul Rohatgi had referred to the inconsistencies in the past apex court verdicts and said that the issue whether right to privacy was a fundamental right or not, needed to be settled first. However, today the apex court decided that the matter would be under a nine judge bench now.

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A hue and cry was raised over linkage of Aadhaar with Pan card stating that the same would infringed the Right to Privacy. On further questioning by Justice Chandrachud and Justice Chelameswar, the AG said that matter should be referred to a bench of seven or nine judges to decided the correctness of the Kharak Singh case, because a five-judge bench can not decide the case.

"If yes, then what would be contours of the right to privacy", the bench had said while referring the matter to the then CJI for setting up the larger bench.

"No judgment explicitly cites right to privacy as a fundamental right".

The petitioners said that Article 35A of the Constitution be declared unconstitutional. But the AG countered by saying that the framers of the Constitution consciously chose not to include right to privacy.

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