New Delhi: "How can people think of the right to privacy when they are fighting for sustenance?," the Supreme Court on Tuesday said as it asked states and union territories to respond to petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar card and it being made mandatory for getting benefits of government`s social welfare schemes.
The apex court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar on the ground that it violates and transgresses individual rights of citizens.
A bench of justices BS Chauhan and SA Bobde said the stand of state governments need to be considered while adjudicating the case on Aadhaar card.
The petitioners include Justice K Puttaswamy, former high court judge, seeking to restrain the Centre, Planning Commission and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) from issuing Aadhaar cards by way of an executive order of January 28, 2009.
"UIDAI alters the relationships between citizens and state which cannot be done even by framing law. It violates the right to privacy of individuals by collection all personal informations which can be misused," senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for one of the petitioners, contended.
He submitted data for Unique identification number are being collected by private individuals presenting grave risk to the privacy of citizens.
"It is an incursion and transgression in individual rights. It cannot be done even it is voluntary. It is contrary to fundamental rights granted under constitution," he said.
The bench, however, remarked that the issue cannot be seen only from privacy angle as food and water are more important than the right to privacy.
It said social circumstances have to be kept in mind while deciding these issues.
"It is a harsh reality. How can people think of the right to privacy when they are fighting for sustenance?," the bench said.