Legal eagles Gopal Subramanium, Soli Sorabjee and Shyam Divan appearing for the petitioners strongly argued for declaration of ‘Right To Privacy’ as a fundamental right as the nine judge constitution bench constituted by the Chief Justice to decide the question ‘whether right to privacy is a fundamental right under Constitution of India’ began its hearing.
The hearing continues. Attorney General K K Venugopal who will represent the Centre will respond later after lawyers for the petitioners conclude.
Starting the arguments for the petitioners including a retired Karnataka High Court judge, K. Puttaswamy, and social activist Aruna Roy , Subramanium contended that privacy is embedded in all processes of human life and liberty. “All human choices are an exercise of liberty. And they all presuppose privacy”, he argued
“The issue is simple. Whether M P Sharma (1954) and Kharak Singh (1963) still stand as good law and is there a fundamental right to privacy under the Indian Constitution? This was the view taken in MP Sharma's case. MP Sharma was a case about whether search and seizure under the code of criminal procedure. Kharak Singh was a case about surveillance. There are two opinions”, he said.
“Liberty and privacy are not rights given to us. They pre-exist, they are natural rights.The question is- can liberty be exercised without privacy? Can liberty be exercised without privacy with respect to fundamental rights. Privacy is a facet of liberty. This is what Justice Subba Rao said in Kharak Singh”, argued Subramanium.
Senior lawyer Soli Sorabjee argued that privacy is an inalienable right inhering in the very personality of Human beings.” The fact that no express right to privacy is mentioned in the Constitution does not mean that it doesn't exist Article 19(1)(a) does not guarantee a freedom of the press. But you can deduce it from free speech, which courts have done. The framers said that freedom of the press was implicit in free speech”,
Shyam Divan who appears for several petitioners argued that “We have an unbroken line of decisions since 1975 recognising the right to privacy. Privacy includes the right to be left alone, freedom of thought, freedom to dissent, bodily integrity, informational self-determination”
“Can you compel an individual to give up their information? We say that violates the right to privacy. Privary emanates from a conjoined reading of the golden triangle of Articles 14, 19, and 21”, he argued.
The court has risen for lunch and arguments will continue at 2pm.
The Bench comprises of Chief Justice JS Khehar, Justice Chelameswar, Justice SA Bobde, Justice RK Agarwal, Justice RF Nariman, Justice AM Sapre, Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice SK Kaul and Justice Abdul Nazeer
A Five Judge Bench specially constituted for hearing the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar earlier referred the limited question ‘whether right to privacy is a fundamental right or not’ for the consideration of a Nine Judge Bench.