Even though a majority of us put out personal information on social media platforms, or give it to banks or telecom operators, it does not mean that we have surrendered our privacy.
This is exactly the point that senior counsel Sajan Poovayya made before a nine judge constitution bench, which is hearing arguments on whether privacy is a fundamental right in connection to Aadhaar.
"Simply because my information is in public domain does not mean I don’t have Right to Privacy. Whether I am in my bedroom or walking along Barakhamba Road, I have a right against surveillance by state," she said, as reported by Bar and Bench.
"Secrecy is never a prerequisite for privacy. For example, those who disclose certain personal details to banks need not presume that the same will be disclosed by banks to other persons for other purposes," she continued.
Poovayya also said the implications of leak of such data had not been considered by the Court. She mentioned that if the state did not have the technology to protect the data it was collecting, it should not collect it in the first place. She gave the instance of UK destroying the electronic data it had collected from citizens as it did not have the technology to protect it.
On Day 2 of the hearing, senior advocate Anand Grover contended that there is no dignity without privacy.
He contended that without privacy, other fundamental rights, especially right to equality, right to freedom and right to life and liberty, would be at risk, reported Live Law.
"If privacy is stripped off, other fundamental rights become vulnerable. For example, pursuant to the NALSA which affirmed the right to self-determination to one’s gender. Many transgender persons (who changed their gender from male to female or vice or vice versa) need such private information to be protected so that their dignity, personal autonomy and equality is not impaired in any manner," he said.
Stating that there cannot be any dignity without privacy, he went on to add that "privacy has dimensions which are very wide and impacts vulnerable groups disproportionately for whom protection of privacy is real and urgent."
The Supreme Court had on Wednesday commenced hearing on the question of whether right to privacy is a fundamental right -- a question pivotal to the challenge to the validity of the Aadhaar scheme.
A nine judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar is examining the nature of privacy as a right in context of two judgments of 1954 and 1962 which had held that right to privacy was not a fundamental right.
Besides, Chief Justice Khehar, the other judges on the bench are Justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde, RK Agrawal, Rohinton Fali Nariman, Abhay Manohar Sapre, DY Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer.
On Wednesday, counsels for the petitioners argued against reading the Constitution narrowly and textually to deny Indians a right to privacy.
(With IANS inputs)