K S PUTTASWAMY VS UNION OF INDIA

INTRODUCTION :

Justice K.S.Puttaswamy (retd.) and Anr . vs Union Of India is the

landmark case and the judgement was given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The

bench gave the judgement in a new perspective to the Right to Privacy of the citizens. In

2011 ,the central government initiated a new identity document known as Aadhaar Card and

established a new agency ,Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), to issue the

Aadhaar card. Aadhaar is a 12 digit unique identity number issued to all Indian residents free

of cost based on their biometric and demographic data which includes a scan of their

fingerprints and retinas. The UIDAI is responsible for storing the data in a centralized

database.1000 villagers in Tembhali in Maharashtra are the people to get their Aadhaar cards

in the entire country.


CASE DETAILS:


Name of the case : Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and Anr. Vs Union Of India


And Ors.


Citation : Writ petition (civil) no 494 of 2012, (2017) 10 SSC 1

Court : Supreme Court of India

Decied : 24 august 2017

Parties Involved : Appellant : Justice KS Puttaswamy (retired)

Respondent : Union Of India and Others

Case holding : The right to privacy is protected under Art 14,19 and 21 of

the Indian Contitution.

Judges : D.Y. Chandrachud,

Jagdish Singh Khehar ,

Abul Nazeer,

Sharad Bobde,

Jasti Chelameswar,

Rohinton Nariman,

Abhay Sapre,

Sanjay Kishan kaul,

R.K. Agrawal.


Aadhaar – a history of controversy:


This case arose due to the challenge in constitutional validity of Aadhaar

project.


In 2012, the Aadhaar scheme was first challenged in the Supreme Court on the

grounds that it lacks statutory backing an invaded the right to privacy by Retired Justice KS

Puttaswamy and others.

The Government argued that there was no constitutional right of privacy in a

view of a unanimous decision of eight judges in M.P. Sharma vs Satish Chandra [1954

SCR 1077] and a decision of a majority of four judges in Kharak Singh vs State of Uttar

Pradesh {[1964]1 SCR 322}

In 2016 march 11, The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery Of Financial and

Other subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act,2016 is a money bill of the Parliament of India

to provide legislative backing to the project. It provides efficient transport , targeted delivery

of subsidies good governance which is incurred from consolidated fund of India .This Act

allowed Aadhaar to be used for authentication purpose by both the State an Central

Government as well as by the private bodies and persons (1) . under this provisions government

has been issuing various notifications making Aadhaar mandatory for government projects

such as LPG subsidies and Mid-day meal scheme. (2)

In 2017 , Parliament passed The Finance Act to amend the Income Tax

Act, 1961 and made Aadhaar mandatory for filing of income tax returns and applying for

Permanent Account Number (PAN) . (3)


Facts of the Case:

In January 2009, UIDAI was passed by the planning commission of India.

In 2010 , the National Identification Authority of Inia Bill was passed by the commission. In

2012, K.S. Puttaswamy, a retired High Court Judge filed a petition against the Union of India

before a nine judge bench of the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of Aadhaar

because it is violating the right to privacy. This scheme was challenged because it violate the

Fundamental Rights.

On august 24, 2017,the Supreme court ruled that the right to privacy is a

fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. On 17th January 2018, the

Supreme Court started to hear the Aadhaar Case. On 25th April 2018. The Supreme Court,

questioned the Centre on linking the Aadhaar with mobile. On 26th September 2018, the

Supreme Court held Aadhaar card to be valid but struck down certain provisions such as in

sec 7,sec 47 ,sec 57 of the Aadhaar Act.


LEGAL BATTLE:

Petitioner’s Arguments:


Article 21 says Protection of life an personal liberty – No

person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty

except according to procedure established by laws. (4)

The main arguments of the petitioner side was that the act may take away the rights

and liberties of the citizen of the country which are guaranteed to them under the

Indian Constitution. It was contented that the right to privacy was being violated.

 Shyam Divan – He was the first council who started the petition

argument. He challenged the Aadhaar Act 2016. As the Aadhar Act

needs the citizen to give their biometric and demographic to avail such

benefits provide by the state. Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act 2016 was

challenged by Shyam Divan. He argued that Aadhaar Act was

unconstitutional because the government track the citizens which violet

their rights to privacy.

 Kapil Sibal - His main contention was that when right to privacy was

made a fundamental right under article 21 of the Indian Contitution

then the personal information of the citizen which the act seeks to

receive should not be allowed.

 Arvind Datar – He contended that Aadhaar act is unconstitutional as

it cannot be treated as money bill. He argued that section 139 AA of

Income Tax Act which makes it compulsory to link Aadhaar card with

bank account is violative of the right to privacy and article 21 of the

Indian Constitution and its needed to be reconsidered.

 P.Chidambaram – He contended that the Aadhaar Act was no way

money bill should not be treated as one. As the provision of Aadhar

Act fails to fulfil the criteria of money bill should considered to be

passed and so the entire law is void an needs to strike down .


Respondents arguments :


 The respondents stated in the affidavit that their intention

behind introducing this act was to ensure that all the citizen for

eligible for the benefits and subsidies by the government should

receive it and aren’t deprived of it.

 The respondents rebutted that the Aadhaar Act does not ask for

any information which can violet right to privacy.

 The respondent also rebutted the privacy contention stating that

the data which is obtained by this act like name, data of birth,

gender, address, mobile number is secure as it is encrypted at


its source stored by the government in the government of

India’s server. The government of India’s servers has a

standard security which is one of the best in the world.

 The argument of the respondent was that the information

which Aadhaar Act seeks to obtain is non-intrusive and non-

invasive identity information.


JUDGEMENT :


 Under the unanimous judgement of a nine judge bench , Supreme Court of

India has held that the Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right and it is

protected under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

 It explicitly over ruled previous judgements of the Supreme Court in Kharak

Singh vs State of UP and M.P Sharma vs Union of India which had held that

there is no fundamental right to privacy under the Indian constitution .

 The triple test laid down in the judgement to check if it invades privacy viz,

 Existence of law

 A legitimate State interest

 Test of proportionality

PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE :


This case checks the constitutional validity of Aadhaar. The Supreme

Court held that Aadhaar Act does not violate your right to privacy when

you agree to share your biometric data .Aadhaar is mandatory for filing of

income tax returns an PAN.


SUGGESTION:

Though the concept of Aadhaar provides more benefits and subsidies to the people ,

it violates the right to privacy of the people and also it can be treated as a national hazard

since any one can access our personal details for breach of data. Government should be more

responsible to safeguard the citizens personal information like fingerprint and scanning of

iris. It should not be misused.

CONCLUSION:

Once again the Supreme Court of India appeared for creating a legal frame work for

privacy protections as the sole protector of the Constitution.it was hailed as historic

judgement. The judges came to conclusion that privacy of the individual should not be

violated.


REFERENCE:

(1) sec 7,8,and 57 ,Aadhaar Act ,2016

(2) unstarred question no.4126,loksabha ,march 27,2017


(3) the finance bill 2017

(4) bare act – the constitution of India


credit: Swetha.S

clg name: The Tamilnadu DR Ambedkar

Law University, Chennai

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