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Privacy not absolute, says Supreme Court

While hearing the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, the Supreme Court said today that privacy is not absolute. The Supreme Court also observed that privacy cannot restrict the government from making certain laws that impose specific restrictions on citizens. The court also said that the phrase ‘right to privacy’ was in fact too amorphous, meaning it lacked a proper definition and structure. The court said that it would be very difficult to define privacy and even if an attempt was made, it would create more problems than it would solve.

Responding to petitions that have stated that Aadhaar violates the privacy of citizens, Justice Chandrachud said, “How do we define privacy? What are its contents? Its contours? How can the State regulate privacy? What obligations does the State have to protect a person’s privacy?” Justice Chandrachud is one of the members in the nine-judge Constitution Bench that is hearing the petitions filed against Aadhaar. The bench is led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar. Attorney General K.K. Venugopal representing the government said that right to privacy can be described as a common law right and cannot be categorized under fundamental rights.

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