The top court observed that when 99 per cent of the citizens are ‘unconcerned’ about sharing personal data with private players like Apple.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday observed that when 99 per cent of the citizens are “unconcerned” about sharing personal data with private players like Apple, how is it qualitatively different if the State has the same information.
Posing this question, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud told the counsel “most citizens are unconcerned about where or how their personal data is used. You say there are 35 crore Internet users and 18 crore telephone users, but 99 per cent of people are not concerned. When you operate your iPad with your thumbprint, your data is public and there it is”.
Justice Chandrachud, who is part of a nine-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar, orally observed, “The moment you want to travel from Mumbai to Delhi, you will get 100 suggestions. Your private and personal data is in private hands, so is there anything qualitatively different when the State has it? You have surrendered your personal life to private parties, but here we are saying that State should be restricted from having it.”
Justice Chandrachud told senior counsel Sajan Poovayya that right to privacy is not dependent upon the majority willing to surrender or forego this right.
He said numbers alone was not a good test to examine the worth of a right such as privacy where constitutional issues were involved.
The questions from the bench came on the second day of the hearing on the reference whether right to privacy is an inviolable fundamental right under the Constitution.
The counsel said it is the State’s obligation under the Constitution to protect one’s dignity and privacy. “Right to privacy does not stand on the pedestal of secrecy, it holds forth from the pedestal of dignity,” he said.