The Supreme Court’s ruling that the right to privacy is a fundamental right is a “set back” for the government on Thursday, noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan said. “This is a setback for the government” because it goes against its stand on privacy, Bhushan who is party to the case told reporters. In a landmark judgment, a nine-judge constitution bench unanimously held that right to privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The verdict will have bearing on the government’s Aadhaar scheme that makes compulsory linking of the unique biometric identity with bank accounts, income tax returns and for availing government benefits. Asked if the ruling will have implications on Aadhaar, Bhushan said: “This judgment does not say anything about that.”
He said it appeared that any law which restricts fundamental right will have to be examined on the touchstone of Article 21. “If the government asks for Aadhaar for booking railway tickets or if you buy something then such a law would be considered as the unreasonable restriction on Right to Privacy. I feel it will be struck down,” Bhushan said. The petitions challenging Aadhaar will now be referred to a separate five-judge bench.