The Supreme Court Wednesday declared the Centre's flagship Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid but struck down some of its provisions including its linking with bank accounts, mobile phones and school admissions. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra held that while Aadhaar would remain mandatory for filing of IT returns and allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN), it would not be mandatory to link Aadhaar to bank accounts and telecom service providers cannot seek its linking for mobile connections. The verdict was pronounced on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar scheme and its enabling 2016 law. The bench had on May 10 reserved the verdict on the matter after a marathon hearing that went on for 38 days, spanning four-and-half months. Here are the main highlights from the Aadhaar case hearing in the Supreme Court today:
Sep 26, 2018
Here's how the Aadhaar case has unfurled over the years
Sep 26, 2018
#AadhaarVerdict | Huge blow to Modi govt. 90% of its claims rejected. Distortions of a great idea of UPA set aside. Held, cannot deny benefits; not for bank accounts; no data sharing with pvt cos; not mandatory u/CBSE, UGC, mobile, says @DrAMSinghvipic.twitter.com/76SqaIbJSx
Can't defy technology, says Arun Jaitely on Aadhaar verdict
Finance minister Arun Jaitley has called the Supreme Court verdict on the Aadhaar Act as historic. Addressing a press briefing, Jaitley said, "It is a historic order, Aadhaar's concept has been accepted after judicial review, we welcome this decision of Supreme Court. Everyone who has been criticizing Aadhaar should understand that they cannot defy technology. Mainstream should accept changes, one can understand the fringe being against. Congress cuts a very sorry figure here, they introduced the idea but they did not know what to do with it."
Sep 26, 2018
TMC's Derek O'Brien reacts to Supreme Court Aadhaar verdict, says party stance vindicated
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien said that the Supreme Court verdict on the Aadhaar Act vindicates his party supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's stand on the issue. "Mamata Banerjee had issued an open challenge on Aadhaar. Our stance has been vindicated. I'm glad the SC said what it said. On data privacy & data protection, that's also something we need to take a close look at, so the BJP can't make it into a policed state," ANI quoted O'Brien as saying.
BJP says Supreme Court verdict on Aadhaar a victory for Modi government
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday described the Supreme Court judgement on Aadhaar as a big victory for the Modi government, saying the 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 ruled that Aadhaar is safe. The verdict has also exposed the Congress, he claimed. The opposition party favoured middlemen while the Modi government brought Aadhaar to ensure that benefits are given directly to the people, he said. That is why, Patra added, 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. (CNN-News18)
Sep 26, 2018
Congress party welcomes Supreme Court jugement on Aadhaar
The Congress party on Wednesday welcomed the Supreme Court's judgment on the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act and scheme. "We welcome the Supreme Court's decision to strike down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act. Private entities are no longer allowed to use Aadhaar for verification purposes," the party said in a tweet on its official twitter handle.
Sep 26, 2018
I think on the whole it is a good judgement. Though personally, I am happy with Justice Chandrachud's judgement striking it down on the ground that it bothers right to privacy: Former Attorney General of India Soli Sorabjee on #Aadhaar verdict pic.twitter.com/8F8AxhLmbI
Aadhaar Verdict: Here's a checklist to help you understand what is allowed and what isn't
In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act and the UIDAI scheme by a 4:1 majority. The judgment was pronounced by a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan. Justice Chandrachud's views dissented from the majority. Justice Sikri wrote a judgment on behalf of himself, CJI Misra and Justice Khanwilkar.
The apex court has placed strong riders that seek to balance citizen's concerns with privacy issues. So, here is a check list of what is allowed and what isn't the Aadhaar Act:
- First thing first, Aadhaar remains mandatory to be linked with PAN card and for filing of income tax returns.
- Private firms cannot insist for Aadhaar information.
- Telecom service providers cannot ask for Aadhaar details.
- Aadhaar is no longer mandatory for opening bank accounts.
- Schools cannot seek child's Aadhaar details, including for their admission purpose.
Sep 26, 2018
Supreme Court on Aadhaar matter: Justice Chandrachud says, "Aadhaar violates the right to privacy as it could possibly lead to profiling of persons and voters" pic.twitter.com/JLHZkeguRj
Justice Bhushan reads out his judgment now, says right to identity is essential
- Justice Bhushan says that he mostly concurs with Justice Sikri but has dissented on a few issues.
- An individual reveals a lot of his demographic information for other identity proofs. Therefore revealing demographic information for Aadhaar doesn't violate the right to privacy. Right to identity is essential.
- Whether right to privacy has been violated in collection of biometric data depends on the context in which it is collected.
- Procedural problems and implementation issues does not make section 7 unconstitutional.
- Aadhaar act does not create a framework for surveillance. Section 57 is unconstitutional.
- Rule 9 of the PMLA act does not violate Articles 14 and 21.
- Justice Bhushan upholds bank linking and section 139AA as well. In the end, he appreciates all the advocates that appeared in the Aadhaar matter.
Sep 26, 2018
Justice Chandrachud reads out his judgment, says Aadhaar in its entirety is unconstitutional
- Justice Chandrachud says large area of the judgment is dissent but there are some areas where we've agreed.
- In understanding the intersection of governance, technology and freedom, this decision will set the future. Our path will define limited government. The quest for digital India should address the digital divide as well.
- If data is the new oil, it still eludes the common people. Aadhaar must be scrutinized to check if it violates human rights. The case is about the rule of law and institutional governance as well.
- The decision of the speaker is amenable to judicial review with respect to deciding whether a bill is a money bill or not.
- Judicial review protects the spirit of the constitution. It protects arbitrary conduct. The office of the speaker is no exception to compliance with constitutional principles.
- A law must recognize the principles that liberates us from our colonial laws. The structure of rjya Sabha reflects the plurality of our nation. Role of rajya Sabha is to maintain instrinsic accountability.
- Aadhaar act does not qualify as money bill. Section 7 is not the central theme of the Aadhaar act and it does not meet the test of Article 110(1). Other provisions of the Act are not incidental provisions.
- This debasement of a constitutional institution cannot be allowed.
- This judgement accepts that there is a legitimate state aim.
- The process of collection of data must be reformed and should be based on taking informed consent of the residents.
- The Act and regulations are bereft of the provisions for providing consent and access to individuals authentication records.
- The Aadhaar project has failed to remedy the flaws in it's design and has led to exclusion. Denying social welfare is violation of fundamental rights of citizens.
- Justice Chandrachud says that Aadhaar program in it's entirety is unconstitutional.
- MoUs entered between UIDAI and registrars are not valid under article 299. Grievance redressal mechanism severely compromises the independece of the mechanism.
- Aadhaar does not pass the muster of Article 14 of the constitution. Section 57 violates Articles 14 and 21. Section 7 suffers from overbreadth since all possible welfare benefits require Aadhaar. This is function creep.
- Aadhaar allows constructing profiles of individuals. This is against the right to privacy and enables potential surveillance.
- Section 139aa is based on the premise that Aadhaar act is unconstitutional. Not since Aadhaar has been held to be unconstitutional, section 139aa doesn't stand anymore.
- The assumption that every individual who opens a bank account is a potential terrorist or money launderer is draconian. The requirements should be redefined by the govt and RBI following the test of proportionality.
- Linking Aadhaar with mobile poses threat to autonomy, dignity and privacy. There might be a legitimate aim but the means to achieve that aim cannot be disproportionate.
- Aadhaar cannot obliterate constitutional principles. The aadhaar Act does not save the Aadhaar project.
Check what the Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional in its Aadhaar verdict
In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said private companies cannot insist on Aadhaar details of citizens and called the Section 57 of Aadhaar Act 'unconstitutional'. Section 57 allows not only the State but also any "body corporate or person" or private entity to demand Aadhaar from citizens for the purpose of identification. It is this provision that gives statutory support to mobile companies, private service providers to seek individuals' Aadhaar card for identification purposes. The apex court said linking of Aadhaar with mobile phone numbers is unconstitutional.
Sep 26, 2018
Verdict on the constitutional validity of #Aadhaar: Justice AK Sikri says, "Aadhaar empowers the marginalised section of the society and gives them an identity, Aadhaar is also different from other ID proofs as it can't be duplicated" pic.twitter.com/ix9VEdw1nS
Here are the main excerpts from the majority judgement read by Justice AK Sikri
- It is better to be unique than the best. Being unique is the basis of Aadhaar. Justice Sikri also talks about how Aadhaar is the most talked about identification system in the world.
- The court has observed that minimal data is collected for the purposes of establishing identity under Aadhaar. There's a fundamental difference between Aadhaar and other identity proofs. Aadhaar eliminates any chance of de-duplication.
- Aadhaar remains secure with the CIDR. Such a system has been unparalleled. It empowers marginalized sections of the society. They can claim various privileges with the use of Aadhaar.
- Right to live with dignity is part of right to privacy. We've discussed the test of privacy, dignity and proportionality. The question is whether court should apply strict scrutiny standards or fair or reasonable standards?
- We have applied the fair and reasonable standards. Human dignity is based on socio economic rights. In the present case, we've enlarged the scope of human dignity. We have applied the principle of compelling state interest.
- There are sufficient security measures to protect information. There's oversight by technology and review board. Authentication records cannot be kept for more than six months. The provision that allows keeping records for five years is struck down.
- Whether the act violates privacy? We've examined only sections 7 and 8 for that purpose. The entire purpose of launching this project is inclusion. Sections 33(1) is read down and 33(2) struck down.
Section 57 is also struck down.
Sep 26, 2018
Justice AK Sikri reading out the majority judgment
The Supreme Court bench has assembled for pronouncing its verdict on the Aadhaar’s constitutional validity. Justice AK Sikri has begun reading out the majority judgement penned on behalf of CJI Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and himself. He begins by saying that “it’s better to be unique than to be best”. Of the five-judge bench presiding over the case, three judges will pen separate judgments on the validity of Aadhaar. All the opinions could either be concurring or with a dissenting opinion. After Justice Sikri, Justice DY Chandrachud will read and finally Justice Ashok Bhushan will read his opinion.
Sep 26, 2018
Data protection is very important and government has made it clear that it will protect the data. A law is also coming in this regard: Mukul Rohatgi, as AG he represented the government in Aadhaar case pic.twitter.com/tFekiGnhkx
Supreme Court judgement on Aadhaar in 2015 stressed on "purely voluntarty nature" of Aadhaar
The 2015 judgment of the Supreme Court allowed the use of Aadhaar in government schemes but maintained the “purely voluntary nature” of Aadhaar. While the first petition challenging Aadhaar was filed in 2012, the process for this case was kicked off by a October 2015 judgment by the Supreme Court. This judgment allowed the use of Aadhaar in a number of government schemes, but maintained specifically that the “purely voluntary nature” of Aadhaar would continue till the court decided one way or another on the validity of the system through a constitution bench.
Sep 26, 2018
3 separate opinions by Justices Sikri, Chandrachud and Bhushan
Three separate opinions in today's Aadhaar verdict will be by Justice AK Sikri, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan. CJI Dipak Misra will not give a separate judgment. (Firstpost)
Sep 26, 2018
Recap: When Trai chief RS Sharma disclosed his Aadhaar number on Twitter, here's what UIDAI said.
Days after Trai chief's Aadhaar dare created a flutter, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Tuesday asked people not to share publicly their 12-digit identifier on Internet and social media, or pose such challenges to others.
"Such activities are uncalled for and should be refrained as these are not in accordance with the law," UIDAI said in a statement.
An all-out war has been raging on Twitter since Saturday after Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) chief R S Sharma shared his Aadhaar number publicly, challenging anyone to show how mere knowledge of the number can be misused to harm him. While some claimed to have got access to his bank account number and email, Sharma refuted the claims saying they were untrue.
For India's poorest, an Aadhaar card can be the difference between life and death.
Prem Malhar says his 50-year-old father died of hunger a few months ago because he did not have the government's Aadhaar identity card that would have given him access to subsidised food.
At least 14 people have died of starvation in Jharkhand, the state where the Malhars live, activists say. They say the deaths have occurred since authorities cancelled old handwritten government ration cards last year and replaced them with the biometric Aadhaar card to weed out bogus beneficiaries.
Here's what Microsoft founder Bill Gates has to say Aadhaar.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is a huge supporter of Aadhaar, now the world's biggest biometric database. In an exclusive interview with CNBC-TV18's Shereen Bhan in August, Gates discussed the merits of the Aadhaar database scheme and how it is preventing fake people from enrolling on the government payroll.
Along with Aadhaar, the Supreme Court will deliver key judgments on these cases as well.
The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce Wednesday a number of significant judgements, including the validity of Centre's flagship Aadhaar scheme, live streaming of court proceedings and granting quota benefits in promotions to SC/ST employees.
The verdict will also be delivered on a question whether the grant of stay on the conviction of a disqualified lawmaker by an appellate court would revive his or her membership of a House.
The apex court is also likely to deliver its decision on the plea of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel challenging the Gujarat High Court order refusing to quash a petition of a BJP leader against his election to the Rajya Sabha.
There are several other cases in which the top court will pronounce its judgements in the coming days.
Sep 26, 2018
Here are the developments so far on the Aadhaar hearing.
The petitioners, including Former High Court judge K Puttaswamy, and others challenged the constitutional validity of Aadhaar on the basis that it violated the citizens’ Right to Privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The plea challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar was filed in the apex court in 2012
The matter was being heard by a five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which had reserved its verdict in May 2018 after a 40-day hearing which had spanned across five months.
Last year, the Aadhaar case saw a major turn in events after a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court held Right to Privacy was a fundamental right and part of every citizen’s Right to Life. The nine-judge bench, headed by the then Chief Justice JS Khehar, had later then transferred the Aadhaar matter to a five-judge bench.
Sep 26, 2018
What is the Centre's stand on Aadhaar?
The Centre had defended Aadhaar on several grounds when the data breaching incidents surfaced and critics voiced their opinion. One of the major concerns for the critics was the fear of siphoning of funds from any citizen's bank accounts. However, the government had assured proper distribution of benefits to millions and prevented siphoning of funds. Aadhaar data, government and Aadhaar authority UIADI contended, is safe and cannot be breached, the Centre had earlier claimed.
Sep 26, 2018
Here's what the Aadhaar hearing is likely to have an impact on.
The Aadhaar verdict on Wednesday will define whether Aadhaar as an identity should be made compulsory or not. The 12-digit Unique Identification Number or Aadhaar number was made compulsory for services including bank accounts, PAN cards, cellphone services, passport and even driving licenses - every citizen was required to link their Aadhaar number to these services. Aadhaar, which keeps in place a biometric database comprising of fingerprints and iris scans, has been through its share of data breaching incidents. For example, the investigation by The Tribune, in January, which claimed that anyone can get hold of the other's Aadhaar details within 10 minutes and Rs 500. Petitioners and after such cases were brought to surface claimed that the safety of Aadhaar remains a question as crucial data - bank account details, mobile number, among others - are linked to the card.
Sep 26, 2018
Good morning! This blog will keep you posted on the latest updates on the Aadhaar verdict.
The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its crucial verdict today on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Centre's flagship Aadhaar scheme and its enabling 2016 law.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra had on May 10 reserved the verdict on the matter after a marathon hearing that went on for 38 days, spanning four-and-half months. As many as 31 petitions, including one by former High Court judge K S Puttaswamy, have been filed in the matter. The petitioners said that Aadhaar, where one is required to furnish his or her fingerprints and iris scan for the biometric database cannot be made mandatory.