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Maharashtra joins Centre in challenge to right to privacy

LiveMint logoLiveMint 27-07-2017 Priyanka Mittal

New Delhi: The battle against the right to privacy being elevated to a fundamental right gained momentum on Thursday as the state of Maharashtra joined in.

“We are not (deliberating) on facets of privacy. It would be incorrect to say that some manifestations of it may be a fundamental right and others not,” C.A. Sundaram, counsel for Maharashtra, told the Supreme Court.

He questioned how an undefined right that was ambiguous in nature could be granted the status of a fundamental right.

According to Sundaram, privacy was a mere concept and one person’s concept of it would differ from another’s.

Sundaram also rejected arguments of petitioners where they relied on using liberty and privacy interchangeably.

A day before, four states and one Union territory—Karnataka, Punjab, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Puducherry—had backed the constitutionality of the right to privacy.

Kapil Sibal, counsel for the states, had told the court that with the advent of technology, which is pervasive in nature, the state had become powerful enough to be invasive in a citizen’s life.

A nine-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar was set up on 18 July to rule on the limited question of whether right to privacy constituted a fundamental right.

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The limited question had cropped up in the context of legal challenges to the Aadhaar unique identity number that has now become the bedrock of government welfare programmes, the tax administration network and online financial transactions.

Arguments in the case will continue after lunch.

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