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The hearing in the case on Right to Privacy resumed today before the 9-judge Bench (Justice KS Puttaswamy (Retd.) & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors ) of Supreme Court, with the petitioners continuing to make their submissions.
Senior Advocates Arvind Datar, Anand Grover, Sajan Poovayya and Meenakshi Arora have made their submissions so far.
Today’s hearing witnessed one interesting aspect as regards the nature of the Right to Privacy – whether it is horizontal and thus enforceable against private parties. Justice Chandrachud observed,
“If there is a Right to Privacy which is horizontal and is actionable against the world at large and not just the State, then the immediate consequence would be an obligation on the State to enact a law to regulate private players to ensure that rights are protected.”
Below are the excerpts of the arguments:
Even in case of contractual rights, where data is purely commercial in nature, the same can be used only for the purpose specified in the contract. So when State collects data, it should specify the purpose for collecting it and use it only for that particular purpose.
All of us put out a lot of personal information in public domain. Does that mean we have surrendered our privacy? No.
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.
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.
Can the State say that it could not maintain law and order because it did not have enough policemen? No. Similarly, if the State does not have technological wherewithal to protect data collected, then don’t collect it at all.
United Kingdom destroyed electronic data collected from citizens through legislation because it felt it did not have necessary technology to control and secure it.
The petitioners have concluded their arguments. Attorney General KK Venugopal will begin his arguments for Central government on Tuesday next week.
Written submissions by Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya
Written submissions by Senior Advocate Anand Grover
Written submissions by Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora
Image of Anand Grover taken from here.