Today’s historic verdict by the Supreme Court runs into 1,448 pages. We have summarised them into 10 issues. We have also listed significant observations as well as the big takeaways.
Is Aadhaar enabling a surveillance state?
Big takeaways: Aadhaar has safeguards, don’t think Aadhaar turns India into a surveillance state, data protection regime is very important, Sections 57 and 33(2) struck down, Retain authentication data only for 6 months.
Does Aadhaar violate the Right to privacy?
Big takeaways: Against public interest, invasion of privacy of beneficiaries is minimal, Aadhaar Act meets test of balancing, Govt seems sincere to prevent exclusion when biometric authentication fails, CBSE UGC NEET JEE cannot make Aadhaar mandatory.
Should schemes involving children mandate the requirement of Aadhaar?
Big takeaways: No Aadhaar for children without parental consent, children can opt out of Aadhaar on attaining legal age, cannot make Aadhaar mandatory for admissions & Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan.
Whether 18 provisions under the Aadhaar Act are unconstitutional
Big takeaways: Joint Secys not senior enough to allow Aadhaar database access by police, Individuals should be allowed to initiate criminal proceedings under Aadhaar act, Don’t want to invalidate Aadhaar enrolments made before the Act was passed.
Whether the Aadhaar Act defies the concept of limited government, good governance and constitutional trust
Big takeaways: Have struck down and tweaked provisions that posed these threats.
Whether the Aadhaar Act could be passed as a money bill
Big takeaways: Bill was rightly introduced as a money bill as Section 7 is the core provision of the Aadhaar Act.
Whether the linkage of Aadhaar to PAN cards under the IT Act is unconstitutional
Big takeaways: PAN-Aadhaar linkage will enhance revenues of country, justifiable to mandate PAN linking with Aadhaar.
Whether the PMLA notifications mandating Aadhaar linkage to bank accounts are unconstitutional
Big takeaways: No evidence to show linking bank accounts to Aadhaar prevents money laundering, unconstitutional to mandate linkage between the two.
Whether the DoT circular mandating Aadhaar linkage to telecom services is unconstitutional
Big takeaways: Can’t intrude into privacy of everyone with a SIM card because of a handful of people, declare mandatory SIM-Aadhaar linkage unconstitutional.
Whether actions of the government are in contravention of the SC’s interim orders
Big takeaways: Government should have conducted court as soon as matter was sub judice, but can’t hold government in contempt of court.