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Case analysis : K.S. Puttaswamy vs. Union of India


Authored By : Pallavi Barwar


Abstract :

This judgment analysis is a small research analysis of the case Justice K.S Puttaswamy vs. UOI. The can holds an important position in the history of landmark judgments of India. In this case, the petitioner challenged the constitutional validity of the right to privacy of the individual in the Supreme Court of India. The case has opened many aspects and has changed many things that can harm the privacy. The article further contained the issue raised by the petitioner and the judgment of the court in response to it along with the major highlights.


Keywords :

Individual, Aadhar, Rights, Judgement, Program, Constitutional.


Citation:

WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO 494 OF 2012


Petitioner:

Justice K.S.Puttaswamy


Respondent:

Union of India(Attorney General)


Bench:

A Bhushan, A Khanwilkar, A Sikri, D Misra


Introduction :

On 24th August, 2017 a landmark decision came on the case which was filed in 2012 related to the constitutional validity of the right to privacy. The case was shifted to many benches and finally, the bench held by CJI Deepak Mishra gave the final judgment on this case. Although the case was won by the state but still holds a very significant position in the case history of India.


Background :

The retired judge, Justice K.S Puttuswamy filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India in 2012 to challenge the constitutional validity of Aadhar by stating that it violates the right to privacy of the individuals. The government decided to link the biometric information like the fingerprints, eye scan of individuals to the aadhar program. Every citizen who has registered himself under this program gets a 12 digit number that facilitates him in financial transactions, government facilities, property matters, and many other things.

Reviewing many cases, government responded to the petition and said that this aadhar program doesn't violate the right of the privacy of individuals. In 2015 the case was passed to 3 bench judges who finally passed to 5 bench judges. In the previous judgments, there was no clear decision on the right to privacy but it was made clear that now the individuals don't need to link their personal information to the aadhar program to avail government facilities.


Facts :

The petition of the case K.S Puttuswamy who was a 91 years old retired judge filed the case against the state to challenge the constitutional validity of the program as it violates the right to privacy of 6he individuals. he challenged the government decisions to connect the biometric information of the individual with the aadhar card to access all the government facilities. The case was heard by the 5 bench judge headed by CJI Deepak Mishra and respondent-attorney general. He argued on this case on the basis of the observation made under the following cases: M.P. Sharma v. Satish Chandra and Kharak Singh v. State of UP. But the case of khartak Singh was upholding the court. The Petitioner argued before the nine-judge bench that this right was an independent right, guaranteed by the right to life with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.

In response to this chief Attorney stated that individuals have the right to privacy to a certain extent.


Issues :

1. There were many issues raised under this case related to Aadhar program?

2. Up to what level this aadhar program can protect the biometric information?

3. Whether the aadhar act violates the right to privacy to some extent?

4. Whether section 139A of income tax also needs to be unconstitutional because it violates the right to privacy.

5. Whether Aadhar Act and Money Bill are the same?

6. Whether the act of telecommunication companies to link mobile number with aadhar act is valid or is unconstitutional?

Judgment :

in the Aadhar act judgment, the court led by Cheif Justice Deepak Mishra gave the final judgment. The court ordered the government to keep the personal information of the individuals safe and also ordered that information available should not be released to any companies that deal with financial transactions. Along with this now the telecom companies also can't force the customer to link their contact number from the aadhar card and the schools also cannot ask for the aadhar information of the student for any matter.

Furthermore, the court also made it necessary for the purposes. The judgment made it clear it mandatory that aadhar card is essential to avail any government facilities, benefits, and subsidies. Also, it clarified the difference between Aadhar card and Identity card and said that these two are incomparable.


Highlights :

1. Validity of Aadhar: the Court upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhar program. It ordered the govt. to keep the personal information then it's their duty to keep that information safe and also advise to reduce the period of stating this data.

2. Financial transaction: in this judgment the court made it clear that neither the government can transfer the biometric information of the individual to the commercial banks, online nor e-wallet companies like Google Pay, Amazon Pay nor the companies themselves force their customer to give their aadhar information to avail the facilities.

3. Exams: students who are appearing or going to appear in board exams or any other competitive exams like CLAT, NEET, SCC are not required to give their aadhar information for admission or fro filling the documents.

4. Government facilities: the court made it clear that to avail of any government facilities, services, and welfare schemes the individuals need to show their aadhar card.


Conclusion :

The objective of launching this aadhar act program was to give an individual identity and recognition to the citizens of the country. It gives every individual a unique identity by providing aadhar number which is different for every aadhar holder. But with too many benefits the issue of the right to privacy became a major concern. The case filed by K.S Puttuswamy became a landmark judgment because he raised the concern of the right to privacy. But the court decided in favor of the respondent held that the Aadhar Act to be constitutionally valid as the Act was under reasonable restrictions of the Constitution. Along with this various other points where aadhar was essential or non-essential were made clear by the court.


References :

[1] Global Freedom Of Expression Coloumbia University.” Global Freedom Of Expresion, globalfreedomofexpression.columbia.edu. Accessed 20 Aug. 2020. [2] Paliwala, Mariya. “Constitutional Validity of Aadhar Act in the Case of Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and Anr. Vs. Union of India By -.” IPleaders, 2 Jan. 2020, blog.ipleaders.in/justice-k-s-puttaswamy-retd-and-anr-vs-union-of-india.

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