Nothing wrong insistence of Aadhaar for availing social security benefits: SC

the asian age  | J Venkatesan

India, All India

Senior counsel Shyam Divan for the petitioners submitted that Aadhaar programme was akin to 'digital dictatorship'.

When he said Aadhaar has now been made mandatory for over 140 schemes, Justice Chandrachud said 'this is the perfect aspect of Aadhaar and even the World Bank has said that the Aadhaar system was quite effective in India though there might be some aberrations here and there.' (Photo: File)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that there was nothing wrong in the insistence of Aadhaar for availing social security benefits as long as the data was used for this purpose.

A five-judge Constitution Bench comprising the Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan made the observation during the course of hearing of a batch of petitions challenging the validity of Aadhaar programme.

Senior counsel Shyam Divan for the petitioners submitted that Aadhaar programme was akin to “digital dictatorship” as authentication of biometric data was a pre-condition for extending benefits which has resulted in “exclusion’ of many beneficiaries whose data did not match.

Also read: Aadhaar will lead to an Orwellian state, says Supreme Court

When he said Aadhaar has now been made mandatory for over 140 schemes, Justice Chandrachud said “this is the perfect aspect of Aadhaar and even the World Bank has said that the Aadhaar system was quite effective in India though there might be some aberrations here and there."

“Let us not be carried away by surveillance. We need to see which are the areas of concern,” the judge added.     

Divan reiterated that Aadhaar enrolment has been done without adequate verification and in many instances, the Centre itself has stated that the enrolment has been over 110 per cent of the recorded population in many states.

Also read: Make Aadhaar simple for vulnerable sections

People are denied access to basic needs such as food and adequate nutrition, mid-day meals in school, and rehabilitation benefits due to the rescued bonded labourers.

He further added that there are no safeguards or penalties for obtaining personal information and said that the biometric data and iris scan that was being collected for the issuance of Aadhaar card violated the fundamental right to privacy of the citizens. 

He also said personal data was not protected, and was vulnerable to exposure and misuse. When it comes to protection of fundamental rights, there is no question of voluntariness. 

The hearing will continue on February 1.

Read more...