The Supreme Court on Wednesday called for a balance between a citizen’s right to privacy and the government’s interest to maintain the nation’s security, The Times of India reported. The court made the observation while hearing petitions that challenged the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar programme.
Justice DY Chandrachud – one of the five judges of the Constitution bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra – said an individual should have no objection if the state accessed his or her personal data to check whether he or she were paying taxes, The Hindu reported. “What will be the problem if personal information is used only for the limited purpose for which it is collected?” the judge asked.
Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal told the court that at present, citizens did not know how their personal data was being used and whether it was safe. “By the time the citizen gets to know, the Big Brother would have become a Bigger Brother,” he argued.
When Justice Chandrachud compared surveillance by the state to Google Maps tracking users, senior counsel Shyam Divan responded that people giving informed consent to use services and being forced to use one were not the same. Divan called the Aadhaar Act illegal and unconstitutional and said it would set up an architecture for surveillance and push the country towards an Orwellian dystopia, The Times of India reported.