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Can Aadhaar be made mandatory? Supreme Court verdict today

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on Wednesday on a bunch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar law on the ground that it violated human rights and right to privacy in every possible way and subjected the citizens to continued surveillance.

A constitution bench comprising the Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan had reserved verdict on May 10.

It was argued that Aadhaar law ex-facie violated an individual’s fundamental right to privacy. The overall impact of Aadhaar law, which affects ‘right to privacy’ and lacked security for protection of data, violated every aspect of human rights guaranteed to citizens under the constitution.

It was submitted that government’s insistence on “seeding” Aadhaar numbers viz. the practice of incorporating the Aadhaar number into several databases, furthers the risk of identity theft as mere possession of the Aadhaar number can then enable an identity thief to access a host of other information linked to one’s Aadhaar number but stored in different databases.

It was pointed out that the Aadhaar Act treats weaker and vulnerable sections of society as second-class citizens because they receive benefits and subsidy from the government. Those who did not receive benefits are forced to obtain Aadhaar as it is linked to various other laws. It affects bodily integrity, personal autonomy and has the inherent defect of compelling everyone to have an Aadhaar. The combined legislative scheme makes it impossible to live in India without Aadhaar.

The NDA government defended the Aadhaar law saying it was a policy decision of the previous UPA government, which introduced Aadhaar-based identity for the citizens. The present government only continued the policy decision of the previous government. It dispelled the apprehension of surveillance of citizens or that the data is being shared by the collecting entities is misplaced, as the encrypted information cannot be shared.

It was submitted that the information collected under the Aadhaar scheme is absolutely safe and kept confidential and there is no question of data breach. It said the mere possibility of misuse of a law couldn’t be a ground to strike down its constitutional validity.
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