Right to Privacy Current Affairs

Supreme Court declares right to privacy as Fundamental right under constitution

The nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar in a landmark unanimous decision has declared right to privacy a fundamental right under the constitution.

With this, the apex court overruled its own previous eight-judge Bench and six-judge Bench judgments of M.P. Sharma and Kharak Singh delivered in 1954 and 1961, respectively, both of which had pronounced that the right to privacy is not protected under the constitution.

Supreme Court Judgment

The apex court ruled that right to privacy is an intrinsic part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 and entire Part III of the Constitution. It overruled the apex court’s earlier two judgements that right to privacy is not protected under the Constitution.

The apex court also had voiced concern over the possible misuse of personal information in the public domain. The question whether Aadhaar violates right to privacy will be dealt with by the five-judge bench which has been hearing the petitions since 2015.

Comment

The Supreme Court of India’s judgment gains international significance as privacy enjoys a robust legal framework internationally, though India had earlier remained circumspect. The judgment finally reconcile Indian laws with the spirit of Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), 1966, which legally protects persons against the arbitrary interference with one’s privacy, honour and reputation, family, home and correspondence.

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Government constitutes Committee to study issues related to data protection

The Union Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY) has constituted an expert Committee to study and identify key data protection issues and recommend methods for addressing them.

The ten-member committee will be headed by Supreme Court Judge (retired) Justice B N Srikrishna and comprise of members from government, academia and Industry.

Terms of Reference of Committee

The committee will study and identify key data protection issues and recommend methods for addressing them.  It will also suggest a draft Data Protection Bill.

Background

It is seen that protection of data and keeping personal data of citizens secure and protected is expected to provide big boost to Digital economy of the country. The government’s decision to focus on data protection comes on the back of a wave of privacy and data breaches– from corporates such as McDonalds, Reliance Jio and Zomato to government agencies that have leaked the personal data and Aadhaar of over 100 million citizens.

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