Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Apex court says hard to junk Aadhaar act on fears of misuse

A view of the Supreme Court in New Delhi A view of the Supreme Court in New Delhi
Patty Aguilar | 07 February, 2018, 05:51

Justice DY Chandrachud, one of the five judges on the bench hearing the Aadhaar case said: "There are a number of judgments where the court has held that mere apprehension of misuse is not sufficient reason to strike down a law".

The West Bengal government told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that when the corporate sector recognised ownership of data on people's choices as an important tool for success, the NDA government's strategy to make Aadhaar mandatory - from banking to buying a SIM card - was meant to utilise citizens' personal data for political purposes.

New Delhi-The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that a law can not be declared unconstitutional just because there is a chance of it being misused during the hearing of the crucial Aadhaar card petition.

Sibal further claimed that Aadhaar was prone to be misused due to user information being left in public domain. There is no safe technology in the world (to prevent its misuse). "Information is power and if the power is given to state, it will use it like never before".

"I agree with the Prime Minister", Sibal said, underlining that the court's decision to allow the Aadhaar law to succeed would "have a far-reaching effects" and "affect future generations".

"The state tells me that in order to get a certain service I am entitled to, I have to get Aadhaar. If so, do we decide the risks in absence of any assurances against misuse in the digital world?" "Only an Aadhaar card will do.", he said. The state says I have no other choice.

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Divan said persons, who can not authenticate identities under the scheme, are often treated as "ghosts" and this can not be tested on the parameters of fundamental rights. That is because they have huge database about people and their choices. The data is available with banks and telecom service providers.

The bench took an example of credit card fraud and wanted to know whether this can be possible with Aadhaar.

"Some of these leaks can be plugged but the basic architectural design of UIDAI is faulty and biometric data is easily compromisable", he said.

Divan concluded his submissions and said the State may say that "I will choose to recognise you only in this manner, otherwise you cease to exist?"

The apex court had on December 15 a year ago extended till March 31 the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes of all ministries and departments of the Centre, states and Union territories.

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