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In a landmark challenge to Aadhaar on the grounds of privacy being an inalienable fundamental right, a 9 judge bench of the Supreme Court of India upholds Right To Privacy as an Intrinsic Part Of Right To Life And Personal Liberty

Supreme Court of India has once again come to rescue the citizens of India by declaring that right to privacy is a fundamental right. This is a big jolt to a government which was turning itself to a surveillance state by intruding every aspect of the life of the individual. This decision was made unanimously reflecting the absolute legal voice on the issue.

The decision was given by a big bench of nine judges who ruled that right to privacy is an intrinsic part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 and entire Part III of the Constitution.

The part III is related to the fundamental rights which have been given to people to live their life as they wish for and develop their personality in full manner. The decision is linked to the government’s effort to make Aadhaar mandatory for the social welfare policies; government also amended Income Tax Act to make Aadhaar mandatory for the IT which SC accepted as valid but government was attempting to extend Aadhaar based surveillance almost in all aspects of the individual’s life. The decision may help to halt this process though SC has to deliver decision on Aadhaar later but is now established that Indian government cannot be a surveillance state as the privacy of the individual cannot be explored and penetrated in absolute manner extending in all aspects of private domain of the person.

The decision has thus overruled the M P Sharma verdict of 1950( six judges judgment) and that of Kharak Singh of 1960 (eight judges) judgments of the same court that right to privacy is not protected under the Constitution..

The decision has been based on article 21 of the fundamental rights. The article is the most interpreted article of the constitution as SC has interpreted it in different dimensions of human life. The article states that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.” In the same article by 86th Constitution Amendment, 2002 the 21A was added stating that ‘under 21A the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.’

The Supreme Court has taken a wider view of the right to personal liberty that it cannot be controlled by the administrative fiats and the legislations. Aadhaar issue will be heavily impacted after the decision and its decision will be dealt during the coming time but the recent decision has illuminated the hopes that SC will also limit the government powers with respect to Aadhaar. It was felt by the citizens that compulsion of Aadhaar was unnecessarily placing them under stress. From banks to entrance examinations Aadhaar was becoming a compulsory identity. In several places the old person s were faced with the problem of not getting their pensions as they were not in a position to attach the Aadhaar cards. The practical problem was that they were so old that their fingerprints did not appear or were not in position to Aadhaar camp where these cards were being prepared due to old age or no one support them to take them to the camps. Several old women have complained about this sorry state of affairs.

Government did not take a flexible view and attempted to monitor every action of the individual. The fear was that Aadhaar compulsion might put the person always under stress. That day was not far away when government could ask the person attach Aadhaar whenever anyone you purchased a newspaper or visited a restaurant for a dinner or stayed in a hospital or was hanging out in a park.

In the societies where governments are fearful of the force of the citizens such steps are contemplated. Supreme Court by its decision has placed the limits on any malafide intention and has empowered the citizens of the country.

Supreme Court is really a custodian of humane values and lives of the Indian citizens. Constitution is paramount and so the WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA. Supreme Court has upheld it and no power can dilute it is now a well established fact.

Originally published on CounterCurrents.org

After false Aadhaar benefits claims perjury to deny citizens right to privacy in case, R S Prasad claims govt always saw privacy as a fundamental right after landmark defeat in judgment by 9 judge bench.

R S Prasad makes another Aadhaar and privacy related false claim.

The Supreme Court gave a landmark 9 judge bench judgment upholding privacy as a fundamental right of citizens. The government was among the defendants and had vigorously stated that privacy was not a fundamental right.

Today, after the judgment, R. S. Prasad, Union Minister holding Law and Justice and Ministry of Information Technology portfolio in the Government of India tweeted:

Govt was of the view that #RightToPrivacy should be a fundamental right.

This is complete nonsense, of course. If the government was of the view that privacy was a fundamental right, why was the case in court at all and fought vigorously all through to the top till a 9 judge bench provided a judgment on a matter of crucial importance to the rights of citizens that the government was violating?

Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi, who represents the Union Government presented the government's stand in the Supreme Court as privacy was not a fundamental right of Indian citizens and that the Constitution makers would have put it there if they had intended it to be. The government's stand was that privacy is a right, but not a fundamental right (normal rights can be overruled by the government in various circumstances, while fundamental rights cannot).

Constitution makers did not intend to make right to privacy a fundamental right.

~ Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi while representing the Union government in Supreme Court before a 9 judge bench.

The government wants to be able to overrule a citizen's right to privacy in order to force them to enroll for Aadhaar or lose their right to essential services, subsidies, and documents. Aadhaar, imposed by the government on citizens was being challenged in court in this landmark case by citizens against their government. What R S Prasad is claiming is a flat out lie.

The Union Government actually made the ridiculous claim that citizens don't have absolute right over their bodies, sparking massive outrage on social media with hashtags like #MyBodyMyRight #RightToPrivacy starting to trend and remaining popular from then to now.

Advocate General Mukul Rohtagi cited two cases that supported this view. Rohtagi additionally falsely claimed in court that Aadhaar was foolproof and that the court should balance the right of the petitioners against those of the 700 million people it allegedly serves (which was also a false claim, because having an Aadhaar does not entitle you to anything, but in fact a lack of Aadhaar can prevent you from availing rights and services you already had access to). This outrageous falsehood has also been robustly challenged.

So the Attorney General committed perjury to defend the government's obsession with surveillance of citizens and when they got soundly defeated anyway, now R S Prasad is claiming that they supported the peititoners who fought against them? This is so absurd as to make no sense. If the government respects privacy as a fundamental right, why does Aadhaar exist at all? Why are people being forced to get an Aadhaar if they want to use essential services like the subsidies they are entitled to or to pay tax or to hold a bank account or even a phone?

Conclusion: R S Prasad is lying. It is the beginning of the usual jumble of words you see around this government and particularly around Aadhaar cover ups that turns their actual meanings into their opposites.

Making of the Constitution of India - A vision document.

  • The Constituent Assembly took 2 years, 11 months and 17 days to prepare the Constitution of India. Constitution of America was prepared in 4 months and that of South Africa in 1 year.
  • 296 Representatives including Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendraprasad, Vallabhbhai Patel, Alladi krishnaswamy , Nazuruddin Ahmed, Thakurdas Bhargava, Hridaynath Kunzru, Pattabhi Sitaramaya discussed and adopted the Constitution. These were people of intelligence, eminence and learned scholars of Constitutional law. These people were devoid of any partisan motives.
  • Total 7635 amendments were tabled while 2473 amendments were actually moved to make changes in the draft Constitution in Constituent Assembly.
  • There are 5 volumes of the Constituent Assembly debate each one of more than a thousand pages.
  • This proves that the Constitution was made by a very rigorous thought process and a thorough consideration of democratic and constitutional principles.

What has the Constitution given to people of India which never before we relished during Vedic, Puranic, Mughal or British India?

  • The Constitution of India gave the below to all Indians –
  1.     Total Independence from the British Rule
  2. India became a Sovereign, Republic and Democratic country.
  3.     Modern vision and commitment of India of ensuring the principles of Equality, Liberty, Fraternity and Justice to each citizen in every walks of  Life.
  4.     Affirming to the Fundamental rights - Freedon of speech, Freedom of practice and Propagation of Religion, Right against exploitation etal. -  Part 3 (Articles 12 to 21).
  5. Parliament, Judiciary, Executive became the pillars of Democracy under the Constitution as Supreme Law. With Judiciary keeping check on the acts passed by the parliament whether affirming under the ambit of the articles and basic principles of the Constitution.
  6.      Ensuring equal rights and safeguards to women unlike during any previous rulings in India.
  7.     Idea of glorification of Multi-culturalism under the spirit of National unity and oneness.
  8.     Single-citizenship which enables and safegurds individuals from various states to pursue the opportunities in any part of the country.
  9.     Right of Writ under Article 226 and 32
  10.      Notion of The Rule of Law
  11. Principle of One Man, One vote hence One Vote, One value empowering each citizen with equal basic value, eradicating  the previous   monopoly of power through caste order
  12.    Right to amend the Constitution under Article 368
  13. Federal Structure under normal conditions but Unitary in emergency.

Condemning the Constitution: A Treacherous act and a conspiracy of the Communal forces

  • It is a habit in this country to blame and condemn the Constitution of India for every failure in this country. People usually say that since our laws are weak and have so many loopholes that is why the guilty are not brought to justice. This however is quite far from the truth.
  • The Law in this country is based on the universally accepted principle of natural justice that even if thousand criminals are set free but the innocent should never be punished.
  • If the criminals are not brought to justice it is not because the Law is weak but that the government’s machinery i.e. the CBI, CID, police etc has failed to produce the essential evidences, proofs before the court so as to book the guilty. If sufficient proofs are brought before the judiciary the laws are so strong that there is no way that the guilty can walk free.
  • Also, people generally mistake Acts (Laws) like the Indian Penal Code, Civil Procedure Code etc as the Constitution and hence they blame the Constitution. But there is a difference between the Acts made by the Parliament and the Constitution of India.
  • Some are ignorant and therefore they blame the Constitution. But some ingenious people are deliberately with full knowledge misleading the ignorant masses trying to inflate their minds with the feeling of hatred and disrespect for the Constitution of India.
  • Condemning the Constitution and showing disrespect to it is an act of treachery.
  • It is the worst kind of conspiracy of the Communal forces disguised in the Hindutva i.e. Hindu nationality movement. It is a conspiracy to turn India into a Hindu Rashtra and make India lose its secular character and democratic system.

Constitution day recalls its Chief Architect, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar categorically pointing out that Indians lack this kind of Constitutional morality in the below words:

“Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realize that our people (Indians) have yet to learn it. Democracy in India is only a top-dressing on an Indian soil, which is essentially undemocratic.”

Oh Indian! Pledge to save the Basic Structure of the Constitution of India!!! Pledge to diffuse in us the Constitutional Morality!!!

Happy Constitution Day!

Guest post by Sumedh Ukey and Pratik Tembhurne.

Sumedh Ukey has done Mtech from IIT Delhi, LLB from Mumbai university and now pursuing M.A. in political science from Mumbai university. He also conducts classes on Ambedkar writings called 'India needs Ambedkar' in Kalyan, East.

Pratik Tembhurne has a B.E in Electronics from Mumbai university. He is currently working for a pvt firm. Politics watcher and constitutionalist.

1

Dear Dr. Harshavardhan,

Congratulations on becoming the candidate for Chief Minister for Delhi. I am not very aware of your career, but am assured by several people that you were chosen because of your spotless record with regard to corruption. This, in itself is quite remarkable in India, and you should be justifiably proud.

I had never thought I'd have to ask this, but in the interest of citizens knowing what they vote for, these questions become important.

I would like you to answer these questions:

  1. Do you believe women of Delhi are independent citizens in their own right with the fundamental rights and freedoms and protections from law that are due to any citizen of India (with the possible exception of women in Gujarat since it seems a bit disputed at the moment)? And that fundamental rights cannot be overruled by another person just because they would like to?
  2. Will you agree, if elected to obey the law and to not misuse authority vested in you by the people for personal ends and against the people, particularly in activities illegal under current laws?
  3. Do you believe that it is possible for a third person to know that a person is being harassed while the victim voluntarily seeks the company of the supposed harasser? And if so, do you believe that the appropriate action is to not file a police complaint, but to approach you for some off the record "protection"?
  4. Do you believe that parents have the right to use personal connections and off the record Chief Minister and police services to find out information about their adult independent citizen children without their informed consent - information that the adult independent citizen children may not voluntarily give them? (whether someone is in their hotel room at 11pm, for example)
  5. Do you believe that a consensual relationship between adults can be termed as harassment and intervened off the record by the state if the parents of one or more people involved in it don't like it?
  6. Do you believe that a Chief Minister is obliged to violate the rights of citizens if requested by a personal friend or relative or business contact or any other non-authority?

Additionally, it would be nice if you stated your views on surveillance.

I understand that the questions are rather offensive and amount to a questioning of your character and integrity, when you have been chosen specifically for those; and I regret that this is so. However the current BJP stand on some alarming revelations on illegal surveillance makes these questions necessary as it appears that there is a misunderstanding on what an accountable state is and what citizen rights are. I am sure you will agree that it is important that citizens knowingly vote for a Chief Minister whose views on their rights is acceptable to them.

I understand that the questions may seem a little repetitive with very minor differences, but I request you to indulge the paranoia of a woman seriously rattled by the prospect that the freedoms she believed she had may not be present in the eyes of the state at all. For someone like me, my parents coming to know everything I do would likely be very offensive and not entirely good for my parent's health either, though they may be foolish enough to want it, if they came across a willing Chief Minister.

Urgent replies will be appreciated, as there isn't much time for the polls.

Sincerely,

An extremely alarmed citizen.

(This post has been written by Vidyut on behalf of a Delhi citizen who would rather not be named, but wants to know these answers)

11

Thought fragments

There was a time when our people fought ferociously for their rights. And there is now when a hunger strike against censorship can't rustle up a dozen people.

When the Arab Spring showed signs of Islamic parties coming to power, many thought it was a failure of the Arab Spring. To me, it was democracy. The people chose the leaders they wanted and the direction they wanted their country to take. It was not something I liked, but I supported the idea as the people's will.

Today, I am confronted with a new degradation chosen by people in my own country. The signs have been there. And increasing. I have held on to hope for a long time.

On returning to the internet after almost a week's break, I had a fresh view of the world around, and the state it is in has started terrifying me.

When the Gurgaon police attempted to place an arbitrary Cinderella time for working women at 8pm, many were indignant. Protests were organized. However, the people participating in the protests shared disappointment over the support they got. The turnout was not as much as expected.

When Tehelka did the expose of the policemen speaking on hidden camera about rape victims, it was outrageous beyond belief. In the real world, not much happened.

We have been fighting a long while trying to spread awareness about the direction our government is taking with regard to individual freedoms. Few beyond those who already cared took interest.

Human rights are being violated all over the country with ridiculous ease.

Chauvinism and misogyny are on the rise and disturbing patterns are emerging. More gang rapes, more incidences of people coming to the aid of victims of sexual harassment being attacked, often fatally. People are getting tired of "outraging" as it is cynically called. The belief is that nothing will change.

I believe that we can't afford to give up. That cynicism is not helpful to our well being. It is like being cynical that a noose around your neck will kill you. It definitely will if you don't fight it. If you do, who knows?

Nothing can be done, says the way of cowards. The ones who would rather admit defeat than risk being defeated.

In my view, defeat is not an option when it comes to fundamental freedoms.

It is an educated class that has come to idolize its comforts so well, that nothing will make them court discomfort. Not even threats to those comforts. If needed, they will concede inches of their space and make do with the remaining rather than fight for their right to not be violated and risk all the comforts.

A Marathi saying: "Shivaji janmala yava, pan shearyacha ghari"

A hero should be born, but in the neighbours home.

Because one who fights pays the price, while their victories help all.

Today, I cannot escape the fact that the peddlers of democracy have won. There are too few - easily dismissed as exceptions to the rule - who care about fundamental freedom. Our "educated" masses are desperately consolidating the fruits of said educations before the elusive things drop out of their grasp. They are overwhelmed making a living for themselves and have no wish to take on something that would help others or even their own world, if others can do it.

And they all look around waiting for others.

A country should have fundamental freedoms, rights should not be violated, but losing them is better than waking up from the Maya of modernity and discovering just how much of themselves they have abdicated.

Today, I am forced to realize that just like I did not like the idea of a religious party ruling a democracy, but I had to accept the bitter fact as a fact of respecting democracy, I must accept that we have collectively chosen to let go of our fundamental rights in favor of not rocking the security and normalcy we desperately cling to.

In my view, a country spending so much energy on simply existing has something fundamentally wrong with how it is run.

But, I must accept for now that if our meagre numbers are not sufficient to force the leaders of the country to remain true to its constitution, then I face a possible future - in the reality we are allowing to unfold uncontested - as an outlaw for the crime of refusing to shut up.

Scary thought.