The five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court of India led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra gave its landmark judgement on September 26 on several issues and concerns raised by citizens on safety and security of Aadhaar, fearing theft of data leading to leakage of personal information, irrational usage and compromising on freedom and constitutional rights.
Three members of the five-judge bench rightfully upheld its constitutional validity and endorsed the rights of citizens on choice, accessibility, safety, security, dignity, freedom and right to credible information. They have further made a clear roadmap for the Government to take up the responsibility to amend the existing law and bring robust technology to build the requisite parameters to protect the citizens from any kind of infringements on their privacy and security.
The Hon’ble Members of the Bench also recognized the right to human dignity and goes on to empower the marginalised section of the society and gives them an identity different from other ID proofs as it cannot be duplicated.
As a citizen-consumer proponent, I am happy with the judgement as it took a balanced approach towards all the concerns raised by the petitioners and also recorded dissent expressed by two of the Members of the Bench, which made the process credible and transparent. India has once again demonstrated the matured role of the judiciary to intervene on matters relating to the constitution and its application.
I am happy with all the amendments proposed by the Supreme Court on the existing law, especially the decision to strike down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act. Private entities are no longer allowed to use Aadhaar for verification purposes. This has laid to rest access to information by Corporates for commercial purpose and has protected the rights of the consumers, which was our major concern.
Moreover, the judgement has clearly defined the rational use of Aadhaar and made it not mandatory for opening and operating the bank account, mobile connectivity, Authentication by private companies, school admissions, CBSE admissions, UGS and NEET exams. However, it has made Aadhaar mandatory for the linking of PAN card, driving licence, and filing of income tax returns. It is a pro-citizen-consumer judgement with lots of expectations from the government in power to roll out the empowerment plan.