9-judge Constitution bench to decide on right to privacy

Supreme Court, Indian Constitution, right to privacy, JS Khehar

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The Supreme Court  on Tuesday decided to set up a nine-judge bench to decide if the right to privacy can be declared as a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar said the larger bench would examine the correctness of the two judgments delivered in the cases of Kharak Singh and M P Sharma in which it was held that right to privacy was not a fundamental right.

While the Kharak Singh judgement was delivered by a six- judge bench in 1960, the M P Sharma verdict was reported in 1950 and was delivered by an eight-judge Constitution bench.

The five-judge bench, also comprising Justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud and S Abdul Nazeer, said the nine-judge bench would commence hearing on the issue from Wednesday and decide whether the fundamental rights, described under Part III of the Constitution, also include the right to privacy.

The order came on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme. It has also been alleged that the Aadhaar scheme infringes the "fundamental right to privacy".

The petitions were referred to a larger bench in 2015 when then attorney general Mukul Rohatgi had referred to the inconsistencies in the past apex court verdicts and said that the issue of whether right to privacy was a fundamental right or not, needed to be settled first.