#RightToPrivacy: AG KK Venugopal, Aryama Sundaram make submissions on Day 4

#RightToPrivacy: AG KK Venugopal, Aryama Sundaram make submissions on Day 4

Murali Krishnan

The hearing in the Right to Privacy case (Justice KS Puttaswamy (Retd.) & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors ) before a 9-judge Bench of Supreme Court entered the fourth day today.

Attorney General KK Venugopal and Senior Advocate Aryama Sundaram made submissions on behalf of the Centre and the State of Maharashtra respectively.

While Venugopal concluded his arguments, Sundaram will continue his submissions on Tuesday next week.

Below are excerpts from the submissions:

KK Venugopal

  • There is no fundamental Right to Privacy. Even assuming privacy can be raised to the status of liberty, it is multi-faceted and every facet will not be eligible to claim the status of fundamental right.
  • India had declined to introduce privacy as fundamental right as is evident from the Constituent Assembly Debates. But now Your Lordships are being asked to hold privacy as fundamental right, which should be rejected.
  • Each aspect of privacy should be examined individually. Even if Your Lordships hold that privacy can be read into Article 21, each and every aspect cannot be held to be part of it.
  • If there is an overwhelming State interest involved, then as far as informational privacy is concerned, there will be a blanket right on the State to collect data.
  • The fact that Aadhaar Act recognises privacy is a recognition that there is no fundamental right to privacy. That is why a law has been enacted.
  • Judgments in MP Sharma and Kharak Singh are correctly decided.
  • Right to Privacy was consciously considered and jettisoned [by Constituent Assembly]. Hence, it should not be read back.

Aryama Sundaram

  • The basic question is whether privacy is a fundamental right. This will necessarily mean we will have to read in all aspects of privacy. Hence, submission by the petitioner that certain facets of privacy is fundamental right while others may not be, would mean that the genus of privacy cannot be conferred the status of fundamental right.
  • Privacy is not a fundamental right. There can be rights whose violation may be considered as violation of a stated fundamental right. That right may also be violation of privacy but that would not make privacy a fundamental right.
  • Before we confer something status as fundamental right, we need to know what exactly the right is. Privacy is just a concept.
  • Concept of privacy is all encompassing. To have it as a fundamental right would amount to injecting an expression with ambiguity and vagueness into the Constitution, something which was expressly rejected by Constituent Assembly.
  • Expressions like freedom of speech, movement etc are concepts which have an exactitude. However, privacy is a word without exactitude. It is an inchoate expression.
  • Kharak Singh has been correctly decided and wrongly interpreted. Govind v. State of Madhya Pradesh did not lay down Right to Privacy as a fundamental right.
  • Purpose of Article 21 is protection of body; Protection of mind is found in Freedom of Conscience (Article 25).

Read the submissions made on Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

Read Aryama Sundaram’s written submissions:

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