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Centres contradictory stand on WhatsApp and Aadhaar privacy case

Recently, Government’s Flagship Program Aadhaar was questioned with a violation of privacy. While registering for Aadhaar, UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) collects all the demographic as well as biometric information such as Fingerprints and Iris Scans. A petition was filed in the court against the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar project primarily against the biometric details of a person which when fall into wrong hands will be an invasion of privacy.

On the other hand, a 5 Judge Constitutional bench led by Justice Dipak Mishra was hearing another petition filed by student led by Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi arguing that the data sharing (This data includes photographs, messages shared by the users of these applications) platform such as Facebook and WhatsApp is a violation of the citizens’ right to privacy. Their lawyer, Senior Advocate Harish Salve appearing for two students also argued that their plea was maintainable as their petition was about the proper regulation should be in place to deal with the issue of data sharing. The petitioner also claimed that the data collected by WhatsApp was used for the commercial purposes.

When this matter came forth the centre before a five judge bench, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) PS Narisimha argued that

service provider or social media platform that shared any personal data which impinged on a person’s Right to Life under Article 21(Right to Life and Liberty) of the Constitution would need to be regulated.

In the hour after hearing of the case, Senior advocate and Counsel for WhatsApp and Facebook Kapil Sibbal argued that the mobile application is not against a regulatory regime and also WhatsApp provides end-end encryption where a third party cannot interfere the privacy and cannot be read even by the company and hence the privacy by the platform is not violated.

Speaking of which, Centres stand on the matter contradicts its stand on the Aadhaar case, which is before the Chief Justice of India J S Khehar and who leads the nine judge constitution bench which is currently examining whether the privacy of a citizen is absolute or conditional.

In Aadhaar case, centre has argued before the Supreme Court that privacy of an individual is not a fundamental right under the constitution. Whereas, their arguments contradicted in the WhatsApp case where they say that a person’s Right to Life under Article 21(Right to Life and Liberty) of the Constitution is absolute and commercial entities threatening that, should be regulated.

Next hearing of the case is on 6th September as decided by the bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra and other Judges in the bench comprising Justice A.k Sikri, A.M Khanwilkar, Amitava Roy and M. Shantanagouder.

The next hearing for the Aadhaar Privacy case is on 25th July. Let’s see how the 9 Judge constitutional bench led by Chief Justice react to this double standards by GOI and how Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi defend it.

SC to deliver final verdict on Aadhaar and Right to Privacy Case Tomorrow, 24th August 2017

The apex court is to deliver the much-awaited judgement whether right to privacy of citizens is a fundamental right under the Constitution.

A bunch of petition was filed against Government’s Unique Identification scheme of Aadhaar, issued to all the citizens of India. This 12-digit number was questioned as it collects all the personal details like demographic and biometric details of the people in order to enrol them in the scheme. Hence, the petitions were filed claiming that it is a breach of privacy, informational self-determination and bodily integrity.

The petitioners also argued that Aadhaar enrolment is the means to a “Totalitarian State” and an open invitation for personal data leakage. To which the Government says that if people can share their personal information with the service providers and private players like Apple, why not with the Government? It also says informational privacy does not exist before compelling State interests and is not an absolute right.

Also it claims that, collection of personal data of the citizens come under that Aadhaar act of 2016 which is the benefits to the poor by providing direct access to public benefits, subsidies, education, food, health and shelter, among other basic rights.

A five – judge constitutional bench, which pondered over the Aadhaar related issues, referred the question of right to privacy to a nine–judge constitutional bench of Supreme Court led by Chief Justice of India J.S Khehar.

CJI Justice J.S Khehar is retiring on Saturday and wants to finish off the cases he is heading some of famous one’s being the “Triple Talaq” case, which the supreme court has pronounced to be Unconstitutional yesterday in a historical verdict.

Tomorrow is the final day of the hearing and it would be interesting to see the Judgement Pronounced by the 9 Judge Bench of Supreme Court and the effect it will have on the World’s largest Biometric Identification Program.

To know what has happened in the case, what various parties of the case has said, Please see https://rupeenomics.com/aadhaar-privacy-issue-aug-2-hearing-highlights/

Follow us to know the final verdict on Right to Privacy under Section 21 (Right to Life and Liberty).

Supreme Court reserves date for Verdict On Right To Privacy

After the hearings in the Supreme Court fortnight this Wednesday. The nine – judge Constitutional bench along with the Chief Justice J.S Khehar reserved the verdict stating that whether the right to Privacy should be put in the shoes of Fundamental right or not. Even though the Government has reserved the date for announcing the Verdict, but the main issue is that the nine-judge Constitutional bench is unsure with the dates.

The nine-judge Constitution had been making hearings over three days each week from 18th of July. Endless arguments and talkbacks are going on between the lawyers of the Central Government, states and the petitioners who have signed the petition saying that the collection of the personal details during the Aadhaar enrollment is a threat to privacy.

The center point of attraction of the whole situation is that – the right to privacy is a fundamental right and needs to be concerned about. This right to privacy has punched the clock to all the legal contexts regarding the Aadhaar issues, like the Enrollment number which has now become the base and bottom of the Indian Government welfare programmes, tax-administration network and financial based transactions.

Gopal Subramanium, who is the lawyer in the favor of the petitioners and the right to privacy has urged the Supreme Court to view Privacy is not as a shade of fundamental right but as one that was “inalienable and quintessential to the Construction of the Constitution”. He also added that the concept of privacy is impacted in the right to liberty and dignity. “Privacy is our right and is sought to defined” says Shyam Divan the counsel of one of the petitioners. He also stated that it should include bodily integrity, personal autonomy, personal surveillance and freedom of movement/dissent /thought.

On 26th of July, the Center continued  with the set of the arguments, stood with the act of privacy and conceded for the first time that it is a fundamental right under the constitution tagging with a caution that the right could not be extended on “every aspect” of the privacy. The four states – Punjab, Karnataka, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh along with the Union Territory Puducherry fostered the Constitutionality of the “Right To Privacy”. Later the states Haryana and Kerala also joined the tribe of the movement of “Right to Privacy.”

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology  appointed an expert group headed by the former Supreme Court Judge B.N. Shrikrishna to place a data protection legislation. The UIDAI represented by Tushar Mehta who is the solicitor general also stood up saying that it is our right and needs to be duly protected.

Above all the issues lies the decisions of the nine-judge Constitutional Bench, once they are done with the privacy matter, the remaining issues related to Aadhaar will be heard by the smaller bench of the Supreme Court.

Aadhaar Privacy Issue – Aug 2 Hearing Highlights

A lot of debate is going around the Government’s Aadhaar scheme where it questions citizens right to privacy.

In this week’s hearing, one of the UIDAI official said to the Supreme Court that it is “technically impossible” to spy on citizens using Aadhaar number.

People in opposition of the programme say that the mandating the number makes it a “totalitarian state” (state regulating every aspect of the public and private life wherever possible) which would give the government the power to track citizens in real-time.

The additional solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that nothing is private in the online era…also it is impossible even if the Government wants to says Mehta before the nine – judge bench who is considering whether privacy is a fundamental right of every citizen.

Mehta also informed the Court that a 10 – member committee headed by former top court judge Justice BN Shrikrishna set up to examine the issue and draft a bill on data protection.

Throughout the privacy case the Government has insisted that privacy is valuable and common law right but it cannot be a fundamental right. Attorney General KK Venugopal said not all aspects of privacy can be elevated to the status of a fundamental rightThe Government says that if a person can share their personal details with game players like Apple, then why not with Government?

Another privacy case is going parallel where a petition has been filed against the private companies like WhatsApp and Facebook, where users share their personal details like photographs and messages.

Follow us here for the latest updates on Aadhaar privacy case.

Aadhaar Privacy Case August 1st Hearing.Latest Updates.

Another hearing on Aadhaar Privacy case took place on 1st August before the nine – judge constitutional bench on whether the privacy of an individual is a fundamental right under Article 21 of Indian Constitution, where the nodal agency appearing on behalf of Unique Identification Development Authority of India (UIDAI) said

It is virtually impossible to use Aadhaar to track citizens

The agency also said that

technically impossible to use Aadhaar for surveillance even if a court were to permit them

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a nine judge constitutional bench who is considering whether privacy is a fundamental right of every citizen that

nothing is private in online era
. The agency also suggested that
too much was being made of privacy being a fundamental right

The Central Government informed the court that an expert committee has been set up which is headed by former Justice BN Srikrishna to draft a Bill on data protection.

Another petition was filed in the court against the data sharing which includes personal photographs, messages etc by the users in social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp, which also violates one’s privacy. Where the country has witnessed the duality of the Centre, as on one hand it says that privacy of an individual is not a fundamental right whereas, in WhatsApp case they argues that a person’s Right to Life under Article 21(Right to Life and Liberty) of the Constitution would need to be regulated.

To know more about the Centres Contradictory stand read Centres Contradictory Stand on WhatsApp and Aadhaar Privacy Case

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