Supreme Court upholds Aadhaar Act 4:1, but places restrictions

Aadhaar Case Verdict: For a record 38 days, the top court heard some 27 petitions - including one by former High Court judge K S Puttaswamy - that had challenged the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and called it a violation of the right to privacy.

Aadhaar empowers marginalised sections of the society and gives them identity, which outweighs the harm, Supreme Court said, pronouncing the national identity card “constitutionally valid” in response to petitions raising violation of privacy. “One can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” said the judges, which asserted that private parties cannot seek Aadhaar data. The court, in a majority verdict, said Aadhaar is not compulsory for school admission.”Aadhaar gives dignity to marginalised sections, which outweighs the harm,” said the court in its verdict on 27 petitions that challenged the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and called it a violation of the right to privacy. The court said “very, very minimal data” is collected for Aadhaar, that other documents required for Aadhaar are also proof of identity.

Uniqueness was the fundamental difference between Aadhaar and other identity proof, the bench said. “We are of the view that there are sufficient safeguards to protect data collected under Aadhaar scheme.”

The top court struck down Section 57 of Aadhaar Act which allows private entities to demand Aadhaar to access services. However, no person will be denied benefits under social welfare scheme because of the failure of authentication through Aadhaar, the judges said. “We direct the government to ensure that illegal migrants are not issued Aadhaar,” they said, adding that as of today they did not find anything in Aadhaar Act which violated the right to privacy of individual citizen.

For a record 38 days, the top court heard some 27 petitions – including one by former High Court judge K S Puttaswamy – that had challenged the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and called it a violation of the right to privacy.

Here are a few key observations made by the majority view of the Supreme Court

Justice Sikri: “Lot of people who will benefit due to inclusion cannot be denied due to exclusion of few; Can’t throw baby out with bathwater

Justice Sikri: “It is better to be unique than to be best”.

Justice Sikri: “Fundamental difference from UID and other IDs. Uniqueness of UID is the difference as claimed by Government of India.”

Justice Sikri: “Empowers marginalised section of societies as it gives identity to such persons.”

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