Aadhaar presupposes privacy is fundamental right: Jaitley

“Parliament cannot abrogate its job of legislating if apex court is hearing a petition”

GN Bureau | March 16, 2016


#Aadhaar   #UIDAI   #arun jaitley   #parliament   #law   #supreme court   #privacy   #fundamental rights  

Photo: RS TV

Right to privacy is one of the hotly debated issues when the matter of Aadhaar comes up. On Wednesday, initiating a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the Aadhaar bill, finance minister Arun Jaitley said this legislation presumes the right to privacy is a fundamental right.

 
That is quite a conclusive statement from the government, though it was immediately followed by fine print which would dilute it a lot. Jaitley added that the right to privacy is part of Article 21 of the constitution – the right to life and liberty. However, as the right to life and liberty is not unrestricted, and is subject to law, the question, according to Jaitley, is only if the restrictions applied on this right to privacy in this legislation are just and fair.
 
He said the new bill had improved upon the UPA version and had stringent provisions to protect privacy, as it makes mandatory to have a committee’s ok for sharing a person’s biometrics and that decision can be reviewed by a committee headed by the cabinet secretary, and this sharing will be done only for one purpose – national security.
 
“Individual right has to give way to national security,” he said. He, however, did not respond to the argument that “national security” is a term undefined and open to interpretation or even misuse.
 
Meanwhile, Jaitley also defended the move to legislate on privacy when the supreme court is seized of the matter. He insisted that parliament cannot abrogate its power to legislate just because the court is hearing a petition on this matter.
 
 

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