Justice Rohinton Nariman and the nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court that declared privacy a fundamental right have been recognised as “Heroes” by ‘Access Now’, an international human rights and advocacy group working for open and free Internet and defending the “digital rights of users at risk around the world”.
Justice Nariman and his eight brother judges, including former Chief Justice JS Khehar, had declared privacy a fundamental right on August 27 in a case titled KS Puttaswamy vs Union of India.
The bench, which delivered the landmark judgment, comprised former CJI Khehar, Justice Nariman, Justice J Chelameswar, Justice SA Bobde, Justice RK Agrawal, Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice S Abdul Nazeer.
‘Access Now’ said, “While all nine justices deserve recognition for their heroic judgments, Justice Nariman earns individual recognition for specifically citing to the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance in his opinion.”
The privacy judgment included five separate judgments from different judges.
Every year, ‘Access Now’ names “heroes” who have worked towards ensuring any electronic surveillance program fully respects human rights.
It also names “villains” who have worked towards undermining the principles of freedom online.
“Thanks to the justices of the Supreme Court, over 1.2 billion Indians now have a guaranteed fundamental right to privacy. We are proud to recognise this historic progressive decision that strongly emphasises how India’s living Constitution protects the right to privacy, especially in our digital age. We agree with the Supreme Court that government actions impacting privacy have to be tested with respect to the strongest international standards regarding necessity and proportionality, and that the State must act to protect the personal data of citizens collected by private and public actors,” said Raman Jit Singh Chima, ‘Access Now’s director of public policy.