On Day 2 of the Aadhaar hearing Senior Advocate Shyam Divan continued with his arguments before the 5-judge bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and Dr. AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, Dr. DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, JJ. Below are the highlights from the hearing:
Arguments advanced by Senior Advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for petitioners:
- There are three problems: the integrity of the process, the integrity of the information, and a pervasive violation of fundamental rights.
- There is nothing in the Aadhaar Enrollment form that discloses that it is voluntary. Just as with the resolution constituting UIDAI, there is no mention of biometrics. Also, there is no declaration or verification. All this speaks to the lack of integrity of the process. There is nothing in the form that shows the basis on which its information has been gathered. There is neither any signature nor any method of counselling. Where is the informed consent?
- In a welfare state, can the State roll back rights and announce a barter system: that you only have rights if you give your fingerprints and subject to being tracked for the rest of your life.
- The point about the integrity of the process is substantiated by a Rajya Sabha statement that in six years, 34000 operators were blacklisted. These operators tried to pollute the system or make fake Aadhaar cards.
- UIDIA Orgaisational hierarchy explained:
- Registrars have been empowered to collect demographic and biometric data, as well as KYR+ information. They are are empowered to retain the data, subject to fiduciary responsibilities. Registrars can be private bodies as well. (Upon being asked by Chandrachud, J whether registrars can only be government agencies)
- The verifier is supposed to be appointed by the registrars and verify enrollment documents. It is recommended to use government officials for this.
- The person interacting with the resident is the “Operator.” An operator is employed by the enrolment agencies to carry out enrolment. He must be 18 years and above, +2 pass, and comfortable with computers.
- This is the palpable lack of integrity in this project for all these years. This denuded the rule of law and erodes governance. That is why you now have a situation where 34000 operators have been blacklisted.
- In a digitalised world, the government has to be an ally of citizens, not its adversary. The State must ensure that privacy interests are protected. (Referring to the Privacy judgement)
When the Bench rose for the day, Shyam Divan was discussing the Privacy judgement and it’s implications on the present matter.The Court will continue the hearing on 23.01.2018.
To read the highlights from Day 1 of the hearing, click here.