In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court announced yesterday that privacy is a fundamental right. The judgement was unanimously decided by a bench of nine judges. This judgement is a slap on the government s argument, according to which the constitution does not guarantee individual privacy as an unassailable fundamental right. The Supreme Court declared that the right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution”. Also Read - OnePlus India partners American Express for cashback deals, EMI offers and moreAlso Read - India bans 43 more Chinese apps over security concerns
However, followed by the ruling on the right to privacy, people in India were immediately questioning the position of Aadhaar in their lives. For quite a while now, the needle between Aadhaar being mandatory or not has been swaying. And to add to the confusion, since about a year, the central government made it absolutely necessary for every Indian to link their mobile numbers, and all financial accounts. And this is back where everybody s mind ran, after the right to privacy judgement. Also Read - Fake Xiaomi products worth Rs 33 lakh seized in Bengaluru, Chennai
But as it turns out, the right to privacy will have no impact on the existing procedures of linking all mobile numbers to Aadhaar for subscriber verification. You will still have to present your Aadhaar identity document when getting a new mobile connection to complete the KYC.
…unless there are specific instructions from DoT to the contrary, this judgment would not impact the ongoing exercise of mandatory linking all mobile numbers to Aadhaar for e-KYC for subscriber verification. The ongoing exercise presently carried out by telcos for subscriber verification, are as per strict guidelines issued, monitored and enforced by DoT. We await any further instruction or reference from the licensor in this regard, Rajan S Mathews, Director General, COAI said. ALSO READ: Privacy is a fundamental right under the Constitution: Supreme Court
The argument on Aadhaar that the judgement has raised has two sides. While critics say that the Aadhaar identity card links enough data to allow profiling, as it creates a comprehensive profile of a person’s spending habits, their friends and acquaintances, the property they own, and a trove of other information. On the other hand, the government argues that Aadhaar is essential for all services including tax returns, opening bank accounts and securing loans, pensions and cash transfers for those entitled to welfare schemes. The government rejects all suggestions that the Aadhaar programme poses a threat to civil liberties. ALSO READ: UIDAI deactivates 81 lakh Aadhaar cards: 3-step guide to check if yours is active
In the past, there have been recurring reports of Aadhaar details being accidentally released, including on government websites. But UIDAI, the agency that governs Aadhaar, has repeatedly said that its data is secure. ALSO READ: Right to Privacy is a fundamental right, and the social media is cheering