Aadhaar technologically brilliant but constitutionally flawed

Team SoOLEGAL 4 May 2018 3:44pm

Aadhaar technologically brilliant but constitutionally flawed

New Delhi: The arguments in Aadhaar case which is being heard by five judge constitutional bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra are drawing to close. Its technology is not being questioned but there is section which considers it an intrusion in the privacy of the citizen. This was also the argument made by senior counsel Shyam Divan, who was representing petitioners in the apex court. While arguing in the court he termed Aadhaar "technologically brilliant, but constitutionally flawed".

Countering  arguments given by Attorney General KK Venugopal and other senior counsel representing UIDAI and some state governments on 36th day of hearing, Divan told the bench, which also included justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, that Aadhaar created a mass surveillance tool which would have "chilling effects" on fundamental rights of individuals.

Divan said technology is important but there needs to be balance needs to be struck between rights of individuals and collective interest of society represented by the State.

"In the year 2018, can the Supreme Court take a chance or will it take a firm stance for protection of fundamental rights," he asked.

Justice Chandrachud, who questioned Divan several times, asked him to spell out what all safeguards he would like the court to prescribe.

Divan, said basic flaw of Aadhaar infrastructure was based on self-verification process and agencies managing the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) do not cross verify the information.

Earlier Attorney General KK Venugopal told the court that the Department of Telecommunications' order to link all mobile phone numbers with Aadhaar were based on orders issued by the top court on April 27.On this the bench clarified that the order has been misinterpreted. It only said verification of mobile phone users should be done in the interest of national security and there was no order making linking of Aadhaar with mobile phone numbers mandatory.

The Bench questioned the use of Aadhaar number by private companies serves no purpose of Aadhaar which was basically aimed at stopping pilfering of subsidies extended to poor.

Tagged: SC   Centre   UIDAI  
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