Aadhaar verdict: The Supreme Court has upheld the citizen’s right to privacy

Governance       Aadhaar undergoes ultimate scrutiny SC judgment landmark Nandan Nilekani
       	        Sanya Dhingra         26 September 2018

Governance Aadhaar undergoes ultimate scrutiny SC judgment landmark Nandan Nilekani Sanya Dhingra 26 September 2018

Mobile Numbers: Earlier in its order it said that to get a new SIM card and also for existing mobile number holders, Aadhaar was compulsory. It was reflected in Justice Sikri's judgement which talked of how Aadhaar empowered the marginalised.

Justice Sikri's judgment also upheld Section 139AA OF Income Tax Act.

The apex court added that CBSE, NEET, UGC can not make Aadhaar mandatory, also not compulsory for school admissions.

"We welcome the Supreme Court's decision to strike down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act".

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TMC leader Derek O'Brien said Banerjee had issued an open challenge on Aadhaar, ANI quoted him as saying.

The SC struck down the provision that prevented individuals from filing cases under the Aadhaar Act.

Justice Chandrachud said the collection of data could lead to individual profiling of citizens and the Aadhaar scheme violated informational privacy, self-determination and data protection which has been admitted by UIDAI. He has stated what all it can be used for, and who can't make an Aadhaar mandatory anymore.

According to Compendium of Regulations of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), "The Aadhaar number holder may, at any time, revoke consent given to a KUA for storing his e-KYC data or for sharing it with third parties, and upon such revocation, the KUA shall delete the e-KYC data and cease any further sharing". They envision a future where Aadhaar forms the core of a digital identity that could eventually include every Indian's health records, credit scores, e-signatures, criminal backgrounds, welfare entitlements and other data. The striking down of this section puts an end to mandatory Aadhaar verification.

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Justice Sikri struck down Section 57 which permitted private entities to avail Aadhaar data from individuals and ruled that Aadhaar authentication data can not be stored for more than six months. Noting that mobile phone has become an important feature of life and its seeding with Aadhaar posed a grave threat to privacy, liberty, autonomy, he favoured deletion of consumers' Aadhaar data by the mobile service providers.

SC says no child can be denied benefits of any schemes on not being able to bring their Aadhar number.

Speaking for three of the five judges, including Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice AK Sikri endorsed the Aadhaar project and said the enrolment was valid.

Section 33 dealt with disclosure of Aadhaar data of an individual in national interest to authorised personnel or access to data by a court for identity authentication. The key arguments of the petitioners were that the Aadhaar scheme is unconstitutional and is in violation of the fundamental right to privacy and personal body autonomy. This period is now limited to six months and it will be illegal to hold data beyond that.

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The apex court announced the verdict on a number of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and its enabling Act.

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