Senior Advocate Arvind Datar continued his submissions before the 5-judge bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and Dr. AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, Dr. DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, JJ on Day 15 of the Aadhaar Hearing. Earlier, on Day 14, he had argued on the issue of Linking Bank Accounts to Aadhaar as per Rule 9 of Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002. After Arvind Datar concluded his submissions, Senior Advocate P. Chidambaram began his arguments on the issue of Aadhaar Act, 2016 being introduced as a Money Bill.
On the question of extending the deadline for linking Aadhaar, Chandrachud, J said:
“we cannot extend the dates for linking at the last moment because the financial institutions will be in a state of uncertainty till then thinking 31st March to be the last date for linking.”
The Court, however, said that it will pass an interim order, if required, on the issue on the next date of hearing i.e. 13.03.2018, after P. Chidambaram has concluded his submissions.
Below are the highlights from Day 15 of Aadhaar Hearing:
Arvind Datar’s submissions:
- If you don’t give Aadhaar, your accounts will become inoperable. It can’t be called consent. There’s no option to opt out.
- Aadhaar was preceded by NIA bill. Aadhaar Act was only for the purpose mentioned in the objects and using it for any other purpose would be invalid.
- Chandrachud, J: The moment you extend Aadhaar to private entities, the money bill aspect will be gone.
- Arvind Datar: Yes. The Act was passed as a money bill without any regard to the recommendations of Rajya Sabha. Had it not been a money bill, it would go to Rajya Sabha, recommendations would be considered, and Section 57 would not be there. An opt out clause would be there.
- If one party is in dominating condition, it is not a free consent which is the case in this matter. To enroll or not to enroll is my choice. It is my decisional autonomy to part with or not to part with my personal information.
- Today it is not possible for a person to survive without an Aadhaar. It has its intrusion from birth to death of an individual.
- Aadhaar/PAN judgment should be revisited in light of the privacy judgment:
- After Privacy judgment, it is the personal autonomy of the person whether she wants to take Aadhaar or not or even if she has aadhaar- whether she wants to link Aadhaar or not.
- Attorney General, during the PAN case, had stated linking Aadhaar with PAN is the only foolproof method to ensure there are no fake PAN. (Tells about the case where a person entered 12 zeroes while filing income tax returns, his returns were accepted and refund processed.)
- If your purpose is to eliminate fakes, it need not be perpetual. After achieving the purpose, my data should be returned. What is the need to keep it perpetually?
- Mandatory Aadhaar for applying for NEET Exam:
- In Gujarat, one cannot apply for NEET entrance exam without production of Aadhaar, last date being 9 March. Saya that it is a clear violation of the interim orders of the Court.
- Attorney General KK Venugopal: State has not authorised CBSE to make Aadhaar mandatory for entrance exams.
- Bench: “Any such authority has the right to ask for some kind of identification but not exclusively Aadhaar. We will consider the relief for this particular case at the end of Mr. Chidambaram’s arguments.”
P. Chidambaram’s submissions on the issue of Money Bill:
- Can one can bypass the scrutiny of Rajya Sabha by terming a bill as Money Bill?
- A money bill cannot be introduced in Rajya Sabha. In this case, Rajya Sabha becomes only a recommending house. They have no legislative power but only recommendative power.
- Money bill is a very special kind of bill. Therefore, in the light of denudation of the powers of Rajya Sabha and deprivation of powers of President, these provisions should be construed very narrowly and strictly so that nothing escapes in the guise of money bill.
Interim Order on Aadhaar being made mandatory for Entrance Exams:
The Bench passed an interim order on the CBSE NEET entrance exam and all other All-India examination that the applicants need not produce Aadhaar number for applying. They can produce any alternative means of identification including Ration card, driving licence, etc. The order will also be uploaded on the CBSE website.