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Aadhaar Case: SC bench expresses concern over Aadhaar-based profiling

Team SoOLEGAL 31 Jan 2018 10:30am

Aadhaar Case: SC bench expresses concern over Aadhaar-based profiling

The arguments on Aadhaar case does not seem to be ending anytime soon, as Tuesday marked the fourth day of the Aadhaar hearing before the SC bench.

The Aadhaar case is being heard by a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

While hearing the case on Tuesday, the bench expressed concern over private entities using the Aadhaar database for authenticating the identity of individuals.

"Profiling is a very serious issue and we have to engage our mind on that aspect. But equally important is that the government has been able to provide benefits to communities under the scheme. It allows doorstep delivery of services and benefits to people", said Justice DY Chandrachud, a member of the 5-judge bench.

However, the bench also said it could not overlook the benefits that the Aadhaar scheme provides in securing the rights of the common man by eliminating middlemen. Besides, the court also cited the appreciation that the scheme has received from international journals and agencies in providing a “citizen-centric delivery of services”

The petitioner’s counsel, senior advocate Shyam Divan then responded that we should not rely on articles published in foreign journals.

He further added that certain local journals have revealed details of starvation deaths caused due to the programme excluding them.

The senior advocate even argued that Aadhaar is a mass surveillance technology, which undermines security, to which Justice Chandrachud replied “Lets not stretch it too far. Ultimately we are all part of a highly networked world.”

Divan then responded, "My point is not that it is tracking but the architecture can be misused in future for tracking and profiling of people. We are living in a democracy and profiling cannot be allowed. The state cannot be allowed to aggregate the data, which could be used to track people. It cannot be allowed even if it is for the purpose of providing them benefits like health and education".

Justice Chandrachud agreed with the petitioner’s counsel on section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that permits private parties to seek biometric details. He then said private sector being allowed to access citizens’ details needs to be looked into.

Hearing on the Aadhaar case will continue on Thurday, February 1.

Tagged: Aadhaar case   SC bench   Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra   Justice DY Chandrachud   Shyam Divan  
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