Data an integral part of fundamental rights, Centre tells Supreme Court


New Delhi: The Centre on Friday made a strong pitch before the Supreme Court for a data protection framework governing internet-based messenger applications such as WhatsApp.

A five-judge constitution bench is hearing arguments on whether WhatsApp’s user data-sharing policy is violative of citizens’ right to privacy.

“Data is an extension of a user’s personality which forms an integral part of Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty),” submitted Arvind Dattar, senior advocate, on behalf of the Centre.

Justice Dipak Misra, who is heading the bench, said the matter would be heard once the question of whether privacy is a fundamental right is determined by a constitution bench.

He did agree with the need for a stronger data protection regime in the case of private players such as WhatsApp.

“A private players right to do business is not absolute and it must be regulated by the Centre,” Misra said.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the petitioners, argued that internet service providers could not use user data for commercial purposes.

The case will be heard next on 6 September.



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