New Delhi: A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will hear from July 18 whether collection of biometric information like fingerprints and iris for the purpose of obtaining Aadhaar card will violate the fundamental right to privacy.
A bench of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud agreed to set up the larger bench for hearing on July 18 on a ‘mention’ made by Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and senior counsel Shyam Divan pleading for early listing of the matter.
Last week a three-judge bench refused to pass any interim order and said the issue had to be decided only by the Constitution bench, to which the matter had already been referred. The AG said earlier eight-judge bench had held that right to privacy is not a fundamental right.
In a batch of petitions the validity of Aadhaar card had been questioned on the ground that there are no safeguards or penalties for obtaining personal information. They contended that the biometric data and iris scan that was being collected for the issuance of Aadhaar card violated the fundamental right to privacy of the citizens as personal data was not protected, and was vulnerable to exposure and misuse.
It was argued that Aadhaar card is an invasion of privacy and a terrible violation of basic human rights. When it comes to protection of fundamental rights, there is no question of voluntariness. The petitioners said “the avowed objectives of UID scheme are itself farcical and the entire exercise is nothing but colossal waste of public money and exposes India’s vulnerabilities, and in fact for introduction of the UID project which affects and abridges the rights of citizens.
They submitted that the collection of personal data under the National Population Register of the Citizenship Act, 1955 was violative of Articles 14 and 21 to the Constitution and it suffered from the vice of excessive delegation.