Privacy a fundamental right subject to reasonable restrictions: Government
TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Aug 24, 2017, 04:47 PM IST
- Right to privacy is not an absolute right, it has limitations that need to be identified on case-to-case basis: RS Prasad quoting SC judgment
- Government has always been of view that privacy should be an inalienable right of individuals: RS Prasad
“We welcome the verdict of the Supreme Court on right to privacy. Privacy should be a fundamental right subject to reasonable restrictions,” Union Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told mediapersons at a press conference.
Reading the apex court’s verdict, the law minister highlighted the right to privacy is not an absolute right and that it has limitations, that need to be identified on case-to-case basis.
“Right to privacy… is not an absolute right and is subject to certain reasonable restrictions which the State is entitled to impose on the basis of social, moral and compelling public interest in accordance with law,” Prasad said, quoting from the judgment penned by Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre.
He said that contrary to allegations by the Opposition, the government has always been of view, particularly with regard to Aadhar, that privacy should be an inalienable right of individuals.
“Government has formed a high-powered committee for data protection, which the SC has noted. On behalf of the Centre, the Attorney General also argued that Right to privacy is a part of Fundamental Rights, with reasonable restrictions,” Ravi Shankar Prasad added.
“SC clearly acknowledges need for a robust data regime to balance sensitive concerns between individual interest and state interest,” he said.
He then went on the offensive against opposition parties, who while hailing the apex court’s ruling had also attacked the NDA government for attempting to curtail the privacy of citizens through schemes like Aadhaar.
“Since morning, Congress is targeting us and Left has also joined them. What has been the record of the Congress in protecting individual liberties was seen during Emergency,” the union minister pointed out.
Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi’s observation that the top court’s ruling was “a major blow to fascist forces”, Prasad said the Congress vice-president had a habit of speaking without doing his homework.
“Aadhaar during UPA regime had no protection of law. We made Aadhaar law and provided legal framework for protection of data,” the union minister claimed.
A nine-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar ruled that the right was “an intrinsic part of the Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 and the entire Part III of the Constitution”. The government had argued thatprivacy was not a fundamental right protected by the constitution.
The ruling comes against the backdrop of a large multi-party case against the mandatory use of Aadhaar as an infringement of privacy.