The Union government on Friday told the Supreme Court personal data was an extension of one’s personality and hence a part of fundamental right to life. Having taken a stand before a nine-Judge Constitution Bench that right to privacy is not a fundamental right, the statement is not only contradictory but is also being seen as hypocrisy.

“Data of a user is connected to his personality and it is an integral part of Article 21 (Fundamental Right to Life and Liberty),” Additional Solicitor General PS Narasimha told a five-Judge Bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, which is examining issues arising out of the 2016 privacy policy of WhatsApp.

“If any contractual obligation impinges upon that, it will have ramifications. We will come out with regulations (on data protection),” Narasimha said.

The government further told the court it can pass an interim order if there is no regulatory mechanism to ensure data protection.

In earlier hearings in the Aadhaar case, the government has repeatedly asserted the Centre's right to collect and share data for administration purposes. At no point has the Centre conceded that data-sharing can impinge upon the right to life of a citizen guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution as a fundamental right.

 
 
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