Privacy is a fundamental right 9-judge Constitution Bench of SC reserves verdict

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New Delhi: A nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, currently dealing with the contentious issue whether right to privacy was a fundamental right, reserved its verdict in the case on Wednesday.

The Gujarat government had earlier this morning told the Supreme Court that transparency is a key component in the technological era and providing basic personal information could not be covered under the right to privacy.

The nine-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar then reserved its verdict in the case.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for Gujarat government, said that some aspects of privacy may be traced to various fundamental rights but providing basic personal information to authorities was needed to bring more transparency in the present technological era.

He then referred to the Supreme Court rules which make it mandatory for lawyers to part with various personal information for filing a private interest litigation.

"Your lordships are marching forward with technology by seeking various personal information under the rules," Dwivedi said.

He then referred to the fact that personal information like names, address, telephone number, occupation and national unique ID cards, if any, are being sought by the apex court for allowing a litigant to file a PIL before it.

The bench, however, said that personal information has to be used for the intended purpose only. 

On August 1, the apex court had said that there has to be "overarching" guidelines to protect an individual's private information in public domain to ensure that it was used only for an intended purpose.

The Bench also rejected plea of a Gujarat government lawyer that misuse of personal information could be dealt with on a "case-to-case basis" and said an all-embracing guideline was needed keeping in mind the size of the population.

The bench also referred to the fact that India was a signatory of a 1948 international convention, which recognised privacy as a human right.

The 9-judge bench also comprises justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde, RK Agrawal, Rohinton Fali Nariman, Abhay Manohar Sapre, DY Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer.

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