The government has taken the opposite view in the Aadhar case. Photograph: (Reuters)
Contradicting itself, the government has told the Supreme Court that the privacy of personal data is integral to the right to life.
On Friday, additional solicitor general PS Narasimha told the court: "Personal data is an extension of an individual's personality. Data of a personality is integral to right to life guaranteed under Article 21."
The court was hearing a petition against WhatsApp sharing user data with its new parent company Facebook.
The stand though is contradictory to the one the government has taken in the Aadhar case.
Arguing a petition against Aadhar, attorney general KK Venugopal had told the court -- while referring to two earlier judgements by it -- that privacy is a common law right and that the petitioners therefore cannot complain about breach of privacy because of the collection of biometric data.
Common law is the part of law derived from custom and judicial precedent rather than statutes.