K.T.S. Tulsi, Prashant Bhushan welcome Supreme Court’s verdict on Right to Privacy

New Delhi : Senior Supreme Court advocate K.T.S Tulsi on Thursday welcomed the verdict on Right to Privacy and said it was significant to the fundamental rights of a citizen.

“It is a significant judgement because it upholds the right of a citizen of being the master of his own body and mind, and no one can compel him to part with his biometric information for the purpose of opening a bank account or for obtaining a telephone connection,” Tulsi said.

Since the government has defended the Aadhar Act on the grounds that it is required for social welfare schemes, Tulsi indicated that it should not be mandatory for everyone.

“Aadhar is not necessary for me if I don’t need to get any services or benefits from the government, so this is asserting of India as a democracy, India as a free country, and Indians as free citizens of a free nation,” Tulsi concluded.

Meanwhile, another lawyer Prashant Bhushan has said that the Supreme Court’s decision was “historic”.

Bhushan informed that privacy is now a fundamental right that comes under article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

“Any law which is made to restrict this fundamental right will have to be examined on the touchstone of Article 21, which means that the court will have to see whether that law imposes unreasonable restrictions on your fundamental right to privacy or not,” Bhushan said.

“This is a blow to the government because their argument was that privacy is not a fundamental right,” he added.

Since a fundamental right is subject to restrictions by law, when he was asked whether Aadhaar Act imposes reasonable restriction on privacy or not, Bhushan said that a smaller bench will have to examine that.

“Suppose in future, the government asks for your biometric details or Aadhar number for your travel bookings, then such law in my opinion will be termed unreasonable restriction on your fundamental right to privacy, and will be struck down. However, as of now, the Aadhar card is only required for social welfare schemes and income tax return under Income tax act. A smaller Bench will look into it,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the nine-judge Constitution bench of the apex court overruled the M.P. Sharma (1962) and Kharak Singh (1954) judgement and gave the verdict that privacy was a fundamental right of a citizen.

A five-judge constitutional bench is to decide whether the Aadhaar violates the Right to Privacy or not.

On July 26, the Centre had told the apex court that there is a fundamental right to privacy, which is a ‘wholly qualified right’ too, and in special circumstances, the government can interfere in a matter that comes under a wholly qualified right. An absolute right cannot be reduced or amended. (ANI)