INDIAN SUPREME COURT DECISION ON PRIVACY SHOULD ENFORCE THIS FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT ACROSS ASEAN & APEC SAYS LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE!

“It is no secret and there are allegations that for example in Malaysia – an individual right to privacy has been sacrificed on the altars of obese profits and corruption by those who hold confidential information on the person (s), despite claims to the contrary!”
Datuk Dr Jacob George

INDIAN SUPREME COURT DECISION ON PRIVACY SHOULD ENFORCE THIS FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT ACROSS ASEAN & APEC SAYS LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE!

The rather blatant abuse of an individual’s privacy in the ASEAN/APEC is no secret!

This is why I am excited that the Indian Supreme Court’s nine-member Constitution bench, in a landmark verdict, has ruled that privacy will now be counted as a fundamental right.

The operative word is – fundamental!

I believe if the governments in the ASEAN/APEC region take cognizance of the ruling and adopt such in their respective jurisdictions it would bring holistic change that is much needed!

The Supreme Court ruling will now have a huge impact on the lives of millions of Indians.

A breath of much needed fresh air!

It was not easy!

It finally came in response to a clutch of petitions challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes.

The verdict was reserved after hearing marathon arguments for six days over a period of three weeks, during which submissions were advanced in favor and against the inclusion of the right to privacy as a fundamental right.

Here are five key points of that much needed judgment:

* Right to privacy is now a fundamental right under Article 21 and intrinsic to Part III of the Constitution. Article 21 guarantees the right to life and liberty as inviolable fundamental rights.

* All the nine judges of the Supreme Court arrived at the same conclusion — though through different but concurring judgments. Before pronouncing the judgment, CJI J S Khehar said that some of the judges have authored different orders.

* The two earlier Supreme Court verdicts — in the 1954 M.P. Sharma case (eight-judge bench) and the 1962 Kharak Singh case (six-judge bench) — that had held right to privacy is not protected under the Constitution stand overruled.

* Validity of sharing information under the Aadhaar Act will now be referred to a smaller bench.

* The judgment will have a bearing on law criminalizing homosexuality. There is also a possibility of a review of ban imposed on consumption of beef in several states and alcohol prohibition as well.

It is no secret and there are allegations that for example in Malaysia – an individual right to privacy has been sacrificed on the altars of obese profits and corruption by those who hold confidential information on the person (s), despite claims to the contrary!

My prayer is the intelligentsia sitting on the bench across these geographical jurisdictions will come together, initiate and adopt the same ruling as the Indian Supreme Court to protect the rights and interests of all individuals in the region!

The only exception being on individuals, groups, or religious organizations and others who indulge in terrorist activities or terrorism, directly, indirectly or through proxies!