NEW DELHI: The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said that this is truly a historic day for the country. The Supreme Court’s order upholds the Right to Privacy for all Indians. It is a complex and voluminous order and the association is carefully studying it. All our members are licensed operators and are therefore bound by licence conditions, always remaining fully compliant with the law of the land.
On Thursday, , the right to privacy was declared a fundamental right under the Constitution by the India’s top Court, which said “privacy is the constitutional core of human dignity”.
“Therefore, unless there are specific instructions from Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to the contrary, this judgment would not impact the ongoing exercise of mandatory linking all mobile numbers to Aadhaar for e-KYC for subscriber verification. The ongoing exercise presently carried out by telcos for subscriber verification, are as per strict guidelines issued, monitored and enforced by DoT. We await any further instruction or reference from the licensor in this regard,” said Rajan S Mathews, DG, COAI.
“Further, we have full confidence that matters of security will be dealt with appropriately by the Union Government keeping a careful and sensitive balance between individual interests and legitimate concerns of the State. National security, network resilience, consumer interests and privacy are also of utmost priority to the industry,” he added.
“We reiterate our advisory that internet and telecom users across the country must exercise caution when sharing personal or sensitive information online. The association will continue to work with the government for nation building and enhancing consumer experience for a fully connected and digitally empowered India,” said Mathews.
The apex court judgement, which will have a bearing on the lives of all Indians, said that “the right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.”
The court also ruled that like other fundamental rights, the right to privacy was not absolute and any encroachment will have to withstand the touchstone of permissible restrictions.