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Privacy is as Good a Notion as Pursuit of Happiness, Govt Tells Supreme Court

“No need to recognize an independent right to privacy. It is more a sociological notion than jural concept,” Attorney General K K Venugopal told the SC.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:July 26, 2017, 4:03 PM IST
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Privacy is as Good a Notion as Pursuit of Happiness, Govt Tells Supreme Court
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New Delhi: The Union government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that privacy is more of a social notion than a jural concept.

“No need to recognise an independent right to privacy. It is more a sociological notion than jural concept,” Attorney General K K Venugopal told the SC.

The government said defining contours of privacy isn't possible. “Privacy is as good a notion as pursuit of happiness,” the AG said.

A nine-member SC bench is examining whether right to privacy is a fundamental right or not.

Earlier in the day, four non-BJP ruled states, including Karnataka and West Bengal, moved the apex court seeking to intervene in the ongoing hearing on the issue of Right to Privacy.

Besides Karnataka and West Bengal, two Congress-led states of Punjab and Puducherry took a stand opposite to the Central government which had said that Right to Privacy is a common law right and not a Fundamental Right.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the four states, initiated his arguments before a nine-judge
Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar and said that in the light of technological advancement, the court is needed to take a fresh look on the Right to Privacy and its contours in the modern day.

“Privacy cannot be an absolute right. But it is a Fundamental Right. This court needs to strike a balance,” he submitted before the bench also comprising Justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde, RK Agrawal, Rohinton Fali Nariman, Abhay Manohar Sapre, DY Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer.

The apex court had on July 18 set up the Constitution bench after the matter was referred to a larger bench by a five-judge bench.

The petitioners had claimed that collection and sharing of biometric information, as required under the Aadhaar scheme, was a breach of the “fundamental” Right to Privacy.

The Centre had on July 19 submitted in the apex court that Right to Privacy cannot fall in the bracket of
fundamental rights as there are binding decisions of larger benches that it is only a common law right evolved through judicial pronouncements.
| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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