RISHABH
AADHAR VERDICT BY SUPREME COURT
RISHABH SACHDEVA 2 Jan 2020

AADHAR VERDICT BY SUPREME COURT

JUSTICE K.S. PUTTASWAMY (RETD.) AND ANOTHER

VS

UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS [AADHAR JUDGMENT]

 CITATION:-  2017 10 SCC 1

The Hon’ble Supreme Court (hereinafter referred to as “the SC”) upheld the Aadhaar scheme's statutory validity. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court’s five-judge constitutional bench has stipulated some provisions in the Aadhaar Act. The Supreme Court upheld the validity of Aadhaar by stating that adequate security measures are being taken to protect data, and it is hard to initiate people's surveillance based on Aadhaar. A five-judge bench headed by Former CJI Dipak Misra, Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Ashok Bhushan called on the government to provide more protection and reduce data storage times.  Justice DY Chandrachud delivered a dissenting opinion.

Take away from the judgment:

a) The SC has asked the Centre to bring a robust law for data protection as soon as possible

b) The SC has clarified that Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory for bank account openings and mobile connections.

c) The SC has expressly stated  that Aadhaar should not be made compulsory for admission to school and cannot be made compulsory by the administration

d) Aadhaar and PAN have been made mandatory by the SC

Former Chief Justice Dipak Misra ruled that Aadhaar is required to file income tax returns (ITRs) and Permanent Account Number (PANs) allocation under Section 139 AA of the IT ACT, 1961 . Rule 9 as amended by PMLA (Second Amendment) Rules, 2017 establishing the necessary links between Aadhaar and bank accounts is upheld and found not to be in breach of Articles 14, 19(1) (g), 21 & 300A. Circular dated March 23, 2017 Mandating Mobile Number Link with Aadhaar is deemed illegal and unconstitutional as it is not backed by any statute and is quashed hereby.

e) The SC has instructed the government to ensure that Aadhaar is not issued to illegal migrants in order to benefit from social welfare schemes.

f) The SC has declared that Private companies can't ask for Aadhaar.

g) In the verdict laid down by Justice Sikri , he has pronounced that  there is a fundamental difference between Aadhaar card and identity. It remains in the system once the bio-metric information is stored, he said.

h) The Supreme Court struck down the Aadhaar law provision requiring data to be exchanged on the grounds of national security

i) The SC through its verdict has also explained the basic difference between Aadhaar and other proof of identity as it is difficult to reproduce Aadhaar and is a unique identity. It added that Aadhaar is to motivate and provide an identity to the neglected sections of society.

j) Aadhaar satisfies the doctrine of proportionality, Justice Sikri said, adding, "Being unique is better than being better

CONCLUSION

The Aadhaar judgment is said to be the second longest case in terms of continuous hearing and underlines the importance and urgency of the case. The petitioners attempted to argue that Aadhaar was illegal, constituted by surveillance as an instrument of state oppression, and had to be scrapped. Aadhaar's data breaches have been cited to argue that the program could cause serious privacy violation issues as people ' biometrics could leak. They also claimed that basic services were refused due to the failure of authentication by Aaadhaar. The government argued that ensuring that the government's direct benefits reach the right people, reducing / eliminating corruption, was useful. Aadhaar introduced the Virtual Aadhaar ID even during the trial and made several moves to strengthen the system to ally fears of lack of security. UIDAI also clarified the security practices and tried to persuade the system to play a useful role in governance and not infringe privacy. Throughout the media's cacophony, each body forgot that the discussion had two other stakeholders. First was the "Honest Tax Paying Citizen" whose legitimate income and wealth was eroded as a result of corruption, black money and benami property holding, all threatened by the Aadhaar link. Second was the company that adopted the use of Aadhaar for e-KYC and electronic documents authentication via e-Sign in real time. The claims were not suggested by these stakeholders.  The Hon’ble Supreme Court upheld the Aadhaar scheme's statutory validity






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