India's Supreme Court rules privacy is a fundamental right

NEW DELHI — India's top court ruled Thursday that privacy is a fundamental right of every citizen, in a landmark judgment that could affect the country's mammoth identity card system.

The verdict was in response to many petitions filed in courts questioning the validity of assigning a biometric identity card to every individual. The government has made the identity card mandatory for all citizens to receive welfare benefits, but human rights groups raised concerns about the risk of personal data being misused.

"This is a very progressive judgment that endorses and protects the fundamental rights of the people," said Soli Sorabjee, a leading lawyer and former attorney general of India.

The ruling overturns two earlier decisions by smaller benches of the Supreme Court, which said privacy was not a fundamental right. On Thursday, a nine-judge bench of the court unanimously ruled that the right to privacy is intrinsic to the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.

The decision is viewed as a setback to the government's efforts to make the ID card compulsory. The government will now have to convince the court that forcing citizens to give their fingerprints and a scan of their iris is not a violation of privacy.

The opposition Congress party welcomed the decision, saying the verdict is a victory for individual rights and human dignity.

The verdict "strikes a blow on the unbridled encroachment and surveillance by the state and its agencies on the life" of each citizen, party president Sonia Gandhi said in a statement.

Rights activists hailed the verdict as a win for individual freedom.

"The right to privacy that the court has defended today is essential to ensure individual autonomy, and is closely linked to the exercise of several other rights, from what people say online to whom they love and what they eat," said Asmita Basu of Amnesty International India.

You may also like these

Journalists slam pending Bangladesh digital...

Sep 28, 2018

Journalists, human rights groups criticize a bill that recently passed Parliament, saying it will...

UN: Climate disasters imperil Bangladesh kids'...

Apr 5, 2019

A report by the U.N. children's agency says the lives and futures of more than 19 million...

India plans surrogacy ban for foreigners,...

Aug 24, 2016

The Indian government plans to ban foreigners, single parents and gay couples from using India's...

Indian court acquits actor Salman Khan of using...

Jan 18, 2017

An Indian court has acquitted top Bollywood star Salman Khan on a charge of using unlicensed...

A wealthier India sees alarming rise in...

Jun 2, 2017

A two-decade economic boom has led to obesity in India's youth, and diabetes cases are rising among...

Search
Broaden News

Sign up now!

Recent Discovery will take you to the captivating developments in science, technology, and the universe around us. We deliver to you the latest news, theories, and developments in the world of science.

Contact us: sales[at]recentdiscovery.com