‘If I Was Attorney General, I Would Have Said We Lost the Privacy Case’: Mukul Rohatgi

Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has said he was “surprised” with the government’s reaction on the Supreme Court’s ruling on the right to privacy.

On August 24,a nine judge bench of the Supreme Court ruled that Indians enjoy a fundamental right to privacy, that it is intrinsic to life and liberty and thus comes under Article 21 of the Indian constitution.

In an interview with the Indian Express, Rohatgi said, “The government should not have diluted their stand in court because the inclusion or exclusion of fundamental rights is only the proviso of parliament… Here, the judiciary is taking over the functions of the parliament and it is a very unsatisfactory resolution of the dispute.”

He further said that if were still in the office as attorney general, he would have admitted that the government lost the case.

“If I was there (as attorney general), I would have said we have lost the case. As lawyers, we are used to winning and losing cases. Because the fact is, we haven’t won this case. The eight-judge bench has been overruled (an eight-judge bench had ruled in 1954 that the right to privacy cannot be a fundamental right) and the Aadhaar issue has been left unresolved. So where is the question of winning?’’, he said.

Rohatgi, while hearing on petitions in the Aadhaar case in 2015 when he was the attorney general, had cited previous judgments to argue in the apex court that the constitution did not assign right to privacy that status. He had quit before the nine- judge bench was established in July. His successor, K.K. Venugopal, had told the court that privacy could be a “wholly qualified” fundamental right.

Rohatgi told the Indian Express that the ruling can open up “Pandora’s box”. He said, “This is an encroachment on the role of the legislature. Twenty more fundamental rights can be included in this manner. For example, there can be a challenge for the right of getting good medical treatment to be converted into a fundamental right. This is likely to open up a Pandora’s box.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. IF I WERE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF INDIA?
    I WOULD PLEADED ON BEHALF OF GOVERNMENT OF INDIA TO CONSTITUTE 11 MEMBERS CONSTITUTIONAL BENCH CONSISTING OF AT LEAST 5 STATES LAW COMMISSION CHAIRMAN’S AS PART OF SUCH BENCH TO ADJUDICATE THE VALIDITY OF 5 MEMBERS CONSTITUTIONAL BENCH JUDGMENT SETTING ASIDE NJAC ACT 2014?
    1)WHETHER SCI EMPOWERED TO INTERFERE WITH ENACTMENT UNDER ART.368? UNLIKE EMPOWERMENT UNDER ART.13 OF CONSTITUTION OF INDIA?
    2)WHETHER IMPUGNED JUDGMENT LACKS REGULARITY,LEGALITY AND PROPRIETY?
    JAIHIND

  2. ON MUMBAI HIGH COURT INCIDENTS OF BIAS AND CHANGE OF D.B HEARING A CASE?
    Without Prejudice OR Sub-judice to any case in particular before any of the 24 High Courts and Supreme Court of India, I share this as my personal experience, share of facts is not prohibited under Art.19 and Contempt of Courts Act 1971 or any other law of the Land.
    1)Constitution is Supreme over any other consideration.
    2)All pillars of democracy are empowered with equal and Independent powers under the express provisions of Constitution, with a rider to have self restraints not to interfere in each other’s empowerment or domain.
    3)But unfortunate one pillar Judiciary claim special status, exception from other pillars, by asserting to be a “JUDGE FOR THEIR OWN CAUSE” from 1993, by making fresh interpretation of Art.124, without recommending or pressing for constitutional amendment to ratify fresh interpretation by way suitable amendment to Constitution and followed by an executive order statutory law? by creating unwritten law MOP from 1993, unlike other pillars of democracy?
    4)Admits flaws in MOP and Collegiums practice, but without empowerment to interfere with when NJAC ACT ENACTED UNDER ART.368 OF CONSTITUION OF INDIA? The Courts can interfere with when law is inconsistent or derogatory with any provisions of Constitution under Art.13 but not under Art.368?
    5)NJAC ACT 2014 was challenging before publication in Gazette Notification is untenable,
    but Constitutional 5 MEMBERS BENCH lowers the Authority and empowerment of Parliament and over 134 Crore People of this Country?
    6)Whether handful of AOR and 4:1 CONSTITUTIONAL BENCH can undermine power of Parliament and people?
    Wherefore there has to be a mechanism to check any authority irrespective of pillars of democracy one belongs from exercise of unfettered and unavailable powers to the position one holds#
    CONSTITUTION OF INDIA SUPREME over any other consideration.#JAIHIND

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