India is taking a stand against Big Brother’s snooping. Recently, the Supreme Court of India ruled that privacy is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution.
As The Economic Times reports, the decision is likely to impact everything from the government’s controversial Aadhaar program to civil liberties, to gay rights and the collection of personal data.
The ruling comes at a time when Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits, and Services) Act of 2016 is being heavily criticized.
Reportedly, petitioners have spoken out against the act in light of how government agencies may misuse citizens’ personal information. For six days, petitioners pursued seemingly never-ending arguments in favor and against the right to privacy. Finally, a verdict was reached.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar, ruled that privacy is a fundamental right to life and personal liberty which should be guaranteed to all citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution. It was also determined that the right to marriage, procreation, privacy of home and the right to be left alone are other facets of privacy. Khehar wrote:
“The right to be let alone is a part of the right to enjoy life. The right to enjoy life is, in its turn, a part of the fundamental right to life of the individual.”
As a result of the ruling, the government cannot frame any policy or law that “completely takes away the citizen’s right to privacy.” The only thing the government can do is place reasonable restrictions on national sovereignty and security, public order, and decency, as outlined in Article 19 of the Constitution.
As GoodNewsNetwork points out, the subject of privacy had been rejected twice by the Supreme Court in the past. Due to its correlation with the recently-passed Aahar Act, judges say the act’s enforcement will be tested on a case-by-case basis. This will ensure constitutional efficiency.
India joins the United States, Canada, South Africa, the European Union and the United Kingdom in recognizing this fundamental right.