Govt Counsel Says Privacy Not A Fundamental Right In India

The counsel for the government told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that Indians cannot claim right to privacy.

“Constitution makers did not intend to make right to privacy a fundamental right,” attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said, citing prior judgements.

The court is hearing petitions that challenge the unique biometric identification project, or Aadhar, claiming that it violates citizens’ privacy rights. Aadhar was started by the Congress-led UPA government, and the present Narendra Modi government has further pushed its coverage for the purpose of direct cash transfers instead of subsidies.

Rohatgi said to a three-member bench that there was a wide divergence of views on whether privacy was a fundamental right, and that the apex court had not settled it. He requested that the matter be referred to a five-member Constitutional bench to pass a clear verdict on the issue.

Rohatgi argued that at present there was no case for violation of the right to privacy because such a right does not exist.

Shyam Divan, counsel for one of the petitioners, said that the issue need not be referred to a constitutional bench because the government has in the past said that privacy is a fundamental right.