Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of the petitioners, said: “Big brother is constantly watching us. Why should the big brother have that data?
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that national interest and right to privacy of citizens in sharing Aadhaar details need to be balanced.
A five judge Constitution Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan made this observation during the course of hearing of a batch of petitions questioning the validity of Aadhaar card even as senior counsel Shyam Divan argued that Aadhaar programme will lead to police raj.
Justice Chandrachud told the counsel: “We live in times of terrorism, money laundering. One needs to balance out the right to privacy.”
Divan argued that Aaadhaar was nothing but electronic mapping of citizens and this does not happen in any other democracy in the world. He also argued that individuals were free to lead a life without constant gaze of the government.
When Justice Chandrachud said that private operators like Google tap the same types of information, Mr Divan replied that Google is not a state.
“Here Government tracks you in real-time and it becomes a police state and our constitution doesn’t allow this. At just a click of a button, one can have profile of individuals”, he added.
Justice Chandrachud shot back, “Can we not make distinction of data collection and utilisation? The data collected shall not be used for purposes other than collected.”
Senior Lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of the petitioners, told the Bench: “Big brother is constantly watching us. Why should the big brother have that data? He may use it and by the time individuals come to court, years will pass.”
Divan said in a digital society, an individual has the right to protect himself/herself by controlling the dissemination of personal information including biometric information. Compelling an individual to establish his/her identity by planting his/her biometric at multiple points of service violates privacy involving the person.
The hearing will continue on January 30.