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Marriage doesn't eclipse right to privacy: Karnataka High Court [Read Judgment]

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      Nov 28, 2023      0 Comments
Marriage doesnt eclipse right to privacy Karnataka High Court

NEW DELHI: The Karnataka High Court has said that the relationship by marriage neither eclipses the right to privacy of an Aadhaar card number holder nor do away with the procedural right guaranteed under Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits & Services) Act, 2016.

"The right to privacy of Aadhaar number holder preserves the autonomy of the individual’s right to privacy which is conferred primacy and admits of no exception under the statutory scheme. The relationship by marriage which is a union of two partners does not eclipse the right to privacy which is the right of an individual and the autonomy of such individual’s right stands recognized and protected by the procedure of hearing contemplated under Section 33," a division bench of Justices S Sunil Dutt Yadav and Vijaykumar A Patil said.

"The marriage by itself does not do away with the procedural right of hearing conferred under Section 33 of Aadhaar Act," the bench added.

In the present case, a wife had sought information contained in the Aadhaar Card of her husband, who was not available.

The wife, a resident of Hubballi, got married in November 2005 and the couple has a girl child.

In the proceedings initiated by her against her husband, the family court had awarded Rs 10,000 maintenance to her and another Rs 5,000 to their daughter. When this order could not be enforced as the husband’s whereabouts were not ascertainable, she moved the UIDAI under RTI Act.

On February 25, 2021, her application was rejected by stating that there could be no disclosure of such information and matter has to be decided by a judge of the high court in terms of Section 33 of the Aadhaar Act.

The wife filed a plea in the high court and on February 8, 2023, the single bench directed for considering her application after issuing notice to the husband.

In its appeal, the UIDAI approached the division bench challenging the order.

It contended that adherence to section 33 (1) of the Aadhaar Act is mandatory and that any disclosure can be made only after an order passed by a judge of the high court in terms of the direction issued by the Apex Court.

The wife, on the contrary, said that after the marriage, the relationship of husband and wife results in merging of the identity of both and hence, there could be no objection divulging the information of the spouse at the instance of the other spouse.

The bench relied upon the landmark K S Puttaswamy case judgement by the Supreme Court which clearly held that a person whose information is sought to be divulged has right to put-forth his case before such disclosure in terms of section 33(1) of the Aadhaar Act.

The bench said that the marriage by itself does not do away with the procedural right of hearing conferred under Section 33 of Aadhaar Act.

The bench set aside the single judge order and remitted the matter back for fresh consideration, with a direction that the husband is to be arrayed as a respondent in the proceedings.

"The rights conferred under Section 33 of Aadhaar Act requires order to be passed by a Court not inferior to that of a High Court Judge and to facilitate such right, the High Court is required to make appropriate provision in the applicable regime for such exercise of right which is a statutory right," the bench said. 


[Read Judgment]

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