India regains it’s privacy

In a sharp rebuke to the Indian government, a nine-judge Constitutional bench of the country’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled that privacy is a fundamental right as it is intrinsic to the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution.

By this pathbreaking verdict, the apex court bolstered efforts by citizens to legally counter the rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government’s moves to mine personal data for putting a mass surveillance system in place, and its rules on personal and public behaviour, speech and expression, and also on individual dietary habits.

Consumption of beef from cows has been curbed by a nationwide ban on their slaughter, with the state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital city, also empowering the police to enter homes in search of cow beef. There are no similar curbs on buffalo beef, but the measure has evoked vigilantism where those even suspected to be transporting cow beef or having it at home have been thrashed and occasionally lynched. Most of such instances have involved buffalo beef.

Vigilantes also intimidate and manhandle those behind posts on the social media that they deem critical of the government and its policies. The government too has countered some critics with the severe charges of sedition and of waging war against the state. Much to the consternation of the public, government representatives have at times lauded the vigilantes and have also blamed rape victims, urging for sensitivity in attire or for the timings they venture outdoors.

The government lost its argument in the Supreme Court that privacy is a common law right, and not a fundamental right. In its ruling on the sheaf of public interest petitions before it, the highest court overturned past verdicts of its own eight-judge and six-judge benches delivered in 1954 and 1961 that had held that privacy was not protected under the Constitution…Click HERE to read full article.