Supreme Court’s judgement on privacy protects Aadhar: Jaitley

Arun Jaitley

The recent Supreme Court order on the right to privacy lays down the correct exemptions which protects Aadhar, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said.

Jaitley, who is in the US to attend the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, was responding to a question at the prestigious Columbia University on how the government is planning to handle Aadhar after the recent Supreme Court decision on the right to privacy.

In its judgement in August, a nine-judge bench decreed that that right to privacy is part of the fundamental rights to life and liberty enshrined in the Constitution.

The judgement by many has been interpreted as a setback to the Aadhar card, under which the government collects vital personal information of the citizens.

“I do believe that the Supreme Court judgement on the privacy matter in accordance with the current timing is a correct judgement. It lays down the correct exceptions which protects Aadhar,” Jaitley told students.

“Article 21 reads that no person can be deprived of his right to life and liberty without procedures established by the law. That procedure has to be fair and just,” he said.

Jaitley said that some of the judges also went into what would be the exceptions to the law of privacy.

“The first exception they say is national security. The second exception they say is detection and prevention of crime. And the third exception judges say is distribution of socio-economic benefits,” he said.

He said the third exception had been carved out specifically to protect Aadhar.

“For instance, nobody can see that I spent Rs 1 crore in cash and you can t ask me the source, because it violates my privacy…So I think, these exception have been well brought out in the judgement itself,” he said.

There is a chapter in the Aadhar law, which in detail deals with privacy, Jaitley said, adding the chapter deals in privacy the manner in which data is to be protected, the consequences of violation, the fact that that can be made public even with one own consent.

“So all those safeguard provisions have been brought into the law,” he asserted.