New Delhi, July 19: Hearing the petition cases on whether privacy is a fundamental human right under the Constitution of India, the Supreme Court today observed that right to privacy is not absolute. The Supreme Court also asked senior advocate Arvind Datar, representing the petitioners, on what privacy entails after he told SC’s constitution bench that privacy is embedded in all processes of human life & liberty. “Every right to make a decision may not be a part of the right to privacy,” Justice J Chandrachud said.

The case was heard by a nine-judge bench led by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) JS Khehar. The rest of the bench constitutes Justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde, RK Agarwal, Rohinton Fali Nariman, Abhay Manohar Sapre, DY Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer.

The 9-judge bench was constituted by the Supreme Court on Tuesday while hearing petitions on linking of PAN card with Aadhaar.

On Tuesday, Chief Justice Khehar has said that it is essential to determine whether there is a fundamental Right to Privacy in the Indian Constitution. “Determination of the question would essentially entail whether the decisions in MP Sharma and Kharak Singh [cases] that ‘there is no such fundamental right’ is the correct expression of the constitutional question,” he added.

Khehar also pressed on the need to first determine whether the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right or not before going into the issue.

Earlier on July 12, the apex court had agreed to set up a 5-judge bench to deal with the Aadhaar-related matters after attorney general KK Venugopal and senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for petitioners who have challenged the government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for various public welfare schemes, had jointly mentioned the matters.

Various petitioners in a batch of petitions have contended that collection of personal information – like iris scan and fingerprints – under Aadhaar violated their right to privacy.

The apex court said after the nine-judge bench decides whether right to privacy was a fundamental right or not, then all matters relating to the Aadhaar scheme will go back to the original three-judge bench.