Implementation of Aadhaar scheme, “unconstitutional and arbitrary” – SC Update

Implementation of Aadhaar Scheme:

A Bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J. Chelameswar issued notice to Central Government, while hearing a Writ Petition filed by Justice K.S.Puttaswamy (Retd) & Anr challenging the implementation of the Aadhaar scheme while a bill regarding the same is pending in Parliament.

It was contented by the petitioner that, National Identity Authority of India Bill was introduced by the Prime Minister in 2010 to make the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) a statutory body relaying on an executive order issued in January 2009.

Further, it was contended that, the bill was rejected by the Parliamentary Standing Committee in 2011; and the government persisted in enrolling residents through executive action, which was “unconstitutional and arbitrary.” It was also argued that, t he scheme impinged on the right to privacy of individuals, as the confidentiality and security of biometric information private agencies collected were not ensured. Further, even non-citizens were likely to get benefits like cash transfers and illegal migrants were likely to be legitimized, if the scheme is implemented. This could also jeopardise national security.

It was further contented that, Government’s decision to go ahead with the scheme was malafide, intended as it was to avoid parliamentary discussion, especially after the Standing Committee rejected legislation. Hearing on the petitioner’s plea Bench issued notice to the Government of India against the implementation of the Aadhaar scheme. The Bench also issued notice on the writ petition as also on the prayer for interim relief for a stay on the implementation of the scheme.