SC Rules AADHAAR, World’s Largest Biometric I Card, Is Constitutionally Valid After Limiting Its Use

SOON after the biometric AADHAAR number was Okayed as constitutionally valid by the Supreme Court of India on Wednesday, ruling BJP says the Supreme Court’s judgement is a big victory for the Modi government. The country’s apex court has upheld its constitutional validity and asserted that it does not violate privacy. Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Sambit Patra said the court has also ruled that Aadhaar is safe. Since India’s major political parties like the Congress and TMC had also opposed   several provisions related to introduction of the unique Aadhaar number, the BJP had a dig at them .The opposition party favoured middlemen while the Modi government brought Aadhaar to ensure that benefits are given directly to the people, he said. The Congress had moved the apex court against it.”We see it as a big victory of the Modi government, the pro-poor Modi government. The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and has also said that it does not violate privacy,” Patra said. The Supreme Court has however limited the scope of the controversial biometric identity project ruling that it is not mandatory for bank accounts, mobile connections or school admissions. The verdict was widely welcomed, with both sides in the acrimonious debate over Aadhaar’s merits, claiming victory. Holding there was nothing in the Aadhaar Act that violates right to privacy of an individual, a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra in a 4 to 1 verdict also cleared the use of Aadhaar for welfare schemes after a prolonged legal battle against the government’s ambitious project stated to be the world’s largest biometric ID database. The court, however, held Aadhaar would remain mandatory for filing of Income Tax (IT) returns and allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN). However, the verdict is also some sort of victory for activists as the court has struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, that permitted private entities like telecom companies or other corporates to avail of the biometric Aadhaar data. Ruling that Aadhaar authentication data cannot be stored for more than six months, the court also directed the government not to give Aadhaar to illegal immigrants. The apex court has asked the government to put in place a robust mechanism for the safeguard of the data.   UIDAI, the Aadhaar issuing authority, has hailed the judgement as  “historic and landmark” saying the Apex Court has upheld the validity of the biometric identity system that neither creates a surveillance state nor violate privacy.”It has been established by the judgement that Aadhaar is not for the state surveillance as profiling is not possible using the minimal data that Aadhaar has. There are sufficient safeguards to disallow any abuse,” Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said.”Aadhaar Act has withstood the judicial scrutiny and the purpose of the Act is legitimate,” it said.UIDAI said the court has upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and accepted that there is a legitimate state aim in the 12-digit biometric DD.The apex Court also upheld that the Aadhaar Act passed as a Money Bill is valid. “It has further gone on to say that the Aadhaar Act meets the concept of Limited Government, Good Governance, and Constitutional Trust,” UIDAI said. The apex Court also upheld that the Aadhaar Act passed as a Money Bill is valid. “It has further gone on to say that the Aadhaar Act meets the concept of Limited Government, Good Governance, and Constitutional Trust,” UIDAI said.

 

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