Aadhaar: Supreme Court to Pronounce Judgement on Wednesday
Moneylife Digital Team 25 September 2018
The five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will pronounce its judgement on the validity of Aadhaar on Wednesday. 
 
The Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AK Sikri, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan will give their judgement on the much awaited issue of Aadhaar. 
 
The marathon Aadhaar hearings, the second longest in the history of the Supreme Court, after the Kesavananda Bharati case, according to Attorney General K Venugopal, concluded on 10 May 2018. 
 
Over 38 days, the finest lawyers of India have argued for and against the way Aadhaar is being implemented by the Modi government that tramples on the privacy and security of 125 crore people of India. 
 
This is also the first time ever that the hearings have been shared with the public, through live tweets giving argument-by-argument account on Twitter by three accounts.
 
During the concluding session, senior advocates Gopal Subramaniam, Arvind Datar and KV Viswanathan concluded their rejoinders. Mr Subramaniam argued that all notifications on Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, are in furtherance of the dignity of the individual. If that is so, there is no question of imposing conditions when dignity is an inherent and inalienable right. 
 
Mr Datar argued that proportionality test not satisfied because all data for deduplication of permanent account number (PAN) were based on 2006 data. “Only magic words like black money and terrorism cannot be thrown around. The justification of the law for proportionality cannot be a ritualistic exercise like this,” Mr Datar argued. 
 
“Aadhaar e-KYC is fatally dumbing down existing KYC norms and is contrary to claims, actually making money laundering easier. So more ease for money launderers and more hassles for bona fide account operators, with a threat of account freeze! All this is colourable exercise of power. To collect the personal sensitive data of 120 crore people compulsorily in the name of and disguise of all these magic words like terrorism and black money,” he charged.
 
Meanwhile, in August this year, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has issued an advisory asking people to refrain from sharing their Aadhaar numbers with anyone or anywhere as this is against the law.
 
This follows the fiasco when RS Sharma chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), shared publicly his Aadhaar number and challenged to reveal his personal details. 
 
In a series of tweets, UIDAI, the authority assigned to tag every resident with a number, says, “People are advised to refrain from publicly putting their Aadhaar numbers on internet and social media and posing challenges to others. Such activities are uncalled for and should be refrained as these are not in accordance with the law.” (Read: Shaken Up by TRAI Chief’s Challenge, UIDAI says Don’t Share Aadhaar Number with Anyone; it’s Illegal!)
 
Before that in May 2018, India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) offered its account-holders an option to de-link Aadhaar number. This probably was the first instance where a government-owned entity is offering a choice to customers on Aadhaar. The Payments Bank also allows customer to open savings bank account without Aadhaar. (Read: India Post Payments Bank allows de-linking of Aadhaar from account)
 
According to Bar & Bench, the first petition challenging Aadhaar was filed as far back as in 2012. After a long journey in the Supreme Court, which saw several new petitions, a number of different Benches, a landmark judgment by a nine-Judge Bench and a number of deadline extensions for linking of Aadhaar, the hearing in the case concluded in May 2018.
 
Moneylife has been among the earliest publications to take a strong stand against this identification system. In fact, as far back as nine years ago, when discussions happened in small e-mail groups that our managing editor participated in. (Read: Moneylife's Fight Against Aadhaar Goes Back to 2010, and It Continues)
 
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