The citizens of Assam can breathe a sigh of relief as the Supreme Court has declared Aadhaar is not mandatory for bank account, mobile connection. The apex court also declared the Centre’s flagship Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid.
Assam citizens have yet to get Aadhaar as the process of getting enrolled has been delayed multiple times due to other issues.
The apex court’s five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said Aadhaar is meant to help benefits reach the marginalized sections of the society.
The top court said Aadhaar is serving much bigger public interest and Aadhaar means unique and it is better to be unique than being best. There are three sets of judgements being pronounced on the issue.
The first of the three verdicts was pronounced by Justice AK Sikri who wrote the judgement for himself, CJI and Justice A Khanwilkar. Justice Sikri said robust data protection regime has to be brought in place as early as possible. He said the attack on Aadhaar by petitioners is based on violation of rights under the Constitution, will lead to a surveillance State.
He said there has been minimal demographic and biometric data collected by UIDAI for the enrolment. Justice Sikri said unique identification proof also empowers and gives identity to marginalized sections of society. There is no possibility of obtaining a duplicate Aadhaar card, he said, adding that there is sufficient defence mechanism for authentication in the Aadhaar scheme. The concept of human dignity has been enlarged in the judgement, he said.
Justice Chandrachud and Justice A Bhushan, who are part of the bench, have written their individual opinions. 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.