Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal today said the Narendra Modi-government was “ill- advised” in opposing the demand to declare right to privacy as a Fundamental right in the Supreme Court. Sibal, who as a senior advocate appeared for non-BJP ruled states in opposing the government’s stand in the apex court, said “this failure of the government reflects its narrow-mindedness on issues relating to individual freedom”. “Individual house, marriages, sexual orientation, right to space, right to move freely, right to eat what an individual likes, right to be left alone are protected both within the home and at public places to the extent necessary,” Sibal told PTI. While dubbing the judgement as “historic”, “progressive” and “seminal”, the senior Congress leader who was also a law minister during the previous UPA regime, said “the right to privacy protects individuals’ alienable right to protection.” He stressed that the right to privacy is seeded in several articles of Part III of the Constitution and cautioned the NDA government that it should not in anyway compromise with the privacy of citizens in implementation of the Aadhaar scheme.
“Apart from this, data relating to the individual also needs protection and it is the legitimate expectation of individuals parting with their data to secure that protection. The state needs to frame data protection law to ensure legitimate expectation of individuals,” he said. He said the Constitution recognises that law cannot be static and communication revolution and advances in technology required court to look at privacy and recognise its importance in modern world. “Government of India was ill-advised to oppose this right to privacy for the reasons that today more than anytime in the past, the individual’s privacy need to be protected but no right is absolute,” Sibal said.
He said, “To pass the test of privacy, any law framed must be constitutionally valid. It must be need-based and it must be proportionate to the abridgement sought to the right to privacy consistent with actual need.”