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Meet KS Puttaswamy, the 92-Year Old Retired Judge, Who Fired the First Shot in the Right to Privacy Case

Justice Puttaswamy pointed out the difference between the Aadhar case and the right to privacy case, pointing out that the government wouldn't give up on the Aadhar case without a fight.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:August 24, 2017, 2:16 PM IST
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Meet KS Puttaswamy, the 92-Year Old Retired Judge, Who Fired the First Shot in the Right to Privacy Case
File photo of Justice KS Puttaswamy, a retired Karnataka High Court judge and original petitioner in the Right to Privacy case.
Bengaluru: The Supreme Court judgment in the right to privacy case will go down in the history of civil liberties and law books as the as the famous ‘Justice K.S. Puttaswamy Vs the Union of India’.

When News18's Deepa Balakrishnan met up with the 92-year old retired judge an hour after the historic verdict by the Constitutional bench, his first question was: Do you have a copy of the order? Can you give it to me?

Still alert, he pointed out the difference between the Aadhar case and the right to privacy case, pointing out that the government wouldn't give up on the Aadhar case without a fight.

Here are excerpts from his first interview after the judgment was delivered.

Do you feel vindicated?

Yes, I definitely feel vindicated. That too, to get an 8 judge bench judgment overruled is not an easy joke. So it is really a monumental judgment in this way. Now privacy has become a fundamental right.

Will Aadhar be affected?

Aadhar will be affected, but I can't say how. It has its own parameters. I don't think the government will take it lightly, it will fight it. We will have to see.

Is there anything infringing privacy that could be struck down?

Privacy is diff from Aadhar. One is not dependent on the other. It is linked, but not dependent on each other. So it has to be judged on its own merits.

This case will go down in your name, do u feel like you are a part of history?

Myself and Rama Jois, we filed this [petition]. Of course we worked together and he helped a lot, although he did not not file it, I did. Yes, we are happy about the outcome.

Do you feel a part of history now?

I am also a part of the system. I also fought for it. It has resulted in good for the general public and myself also. I am fully satisfied with the result. Are you not happy with the verdict? Everyone is happy, and there is nothing to find fault with the lawyers or the judges.

Who is Justice Puttaswamy?

He is a 92 year old retired judge who first filed this case in 2012. Initially he was also against Aadhar being made mandatory because he felt the unique ID had no function per se as it only ended up duplicating the functions of other IDs like the voter ID or PAN Card.

Justice uttaswamy retired from the Karnataka high court, and is a frail but sharp man. He reads newspapers everyday to keep himself abreast of the news, though he uses a hand held lens to read the fine print. He is hard of hearing, but sound on law and legal aspects. He razor sharp mind still understands the impact of judgments and he is ever eager to read up on jurisprudence.

After putting it off for a long time, Justice Puttaswamy finally registered for Aadhar a few months back when his son took him to an enrollment centre on a Sunday. "All income tax assessees need one so I had no choice. Apparently when I die and go to the cremation ground, they will ask me for Aadhar now. So I got it done. The centre was not crowded but the process still involved half an hour of waiting and 45 minutes of procedures,” he told News18.
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