The Supreme Court’s verdict declaring the right to privacy a fundamental right was welcomed by various quarters on Thursday, including the Opposition. The nine-judge bench unanimously ruled that the right to privacy was protected under Article 21 of the Constitution and is an “intrinsic part of life and personal liberty”.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) National Secretary General Sitaram Yechury said the judgment will have consequences in various domains, including misuse of data by foreign technology companies.“Congratulations to all lawyers, activists, others who fought this government’s sinister designs to deny Indians their fundamental right to privacy,” he said on Twitter. “This judgment will pave the way for securing our rights.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling is likely to determine the outcome of cases against making Aadhaar mandatory for access to various government schemes. On this, senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the concept of the unique identification number, conceived by the previous United Progressive Alliance government, was compatible with the right to privacy.
“This government’s interpretation of Article 21 is an invasion to the right to privacy,” Chidambaram said. “There is no fault in the concept of Aadhaar. There is a fault in how this government plans to use or misuse Aadhaar.”
Senior advocate and former UPA minister Salman Khurshid said the verdict has “far-reaching implications” for the country’s democracy. “Celebrate the defeat of forces that wish to intrude in our lives,” he added.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the verdict was a blow to those who were trying to convert India into a “fascist police state”. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal thanked the apex court for the “important judgment”.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan said the decision was a setback for the government. “Any law that is made to restrict this fundamental right will have to be examined keeping Article 21 in mind,” Bhushan said, according to Firstpost.