On Day 24 of the Aadhaar hearing, the 5-judge bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and Dr. AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, Dr. DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, JJ continued hearing the arguments of Attorney General KK Venugopal.
Below are the highlights from Day 24 of the Aadhaar Hearing:
- We live in a digital era and Aadhaar is the best way to prevent money laundering and deliver subsidies and benefits. A lot of Government fund has gone into this project.
- Aadhaar will last for a long time in the future. It has been approved by UN and world bank. Aadhaar is an ongoing process and the technology and security will be updated as and when required.
- Policy decisions of the government approved by experts are not subject to judicial review. Three organs of the State should have mutual respect for each other in a democracy.
- Development will slow down if there’s judicial review of every administrative action. Courts should not interfere in matters of technical expertise. The only duty of the court is to expound the language of the act. They cannot decide if a particular policy decision is fair
- Sikri, J: Petitioners are arguing on the basis of proportionaliy. You say there’s minimal invasion of privacy. Petitioners are challenging that argument.
- AG: State has a legitimate state interest in rolling out Aadhaar. Aadhaar is in line with the Privacy judgement.
- Bhushan, J: We are not concerned with policy decision. We are looking at the Act and regulations.
- AG: Courts cannot question the wisdom of experts. There’s no question of privacy involved in this case. The entire challenge is whether Aadhaar is safe and secure, which we have already proved it is. The sixteen digit virtual ID is an excellent safety measure.
- Chandrachud, J: Is the onus on the individual to generate a virtual ID?
- AG: Yes, it’s on the individual.
- Chandrachud, J: Can 20 Crore people do it?
- AG: It’s an additional measure.
- Chandrachud, J: Maybe this measure should be applicable to every Aadhaar number without the individual having to generate it. Perhaps Aadhaar passes the test of legitimate state interest, but proportionality is in question.
- AG: It stands the test of proportionality because all alternative measures were considered before adopting Aadhaar. The Court should not become an approval authority. It is the duty of the State to look after the welfare of the people in a democracy.
- Chandrachud, J: “Biological attributes” is open ended.
- AG: Blood, urine, DNA can be added, but it’ll be subject to examination by the courts, just like right now the court is examining whether collection of fingerprints and Iris scans are a violation of privacy. Parliament will be an oversight body.
- Chandrachud, J: The power of UIDAI to decide what is ‘biological attributes” and the method of collecting it has to meet the test of proportionality. The regulations don’t need the approval of the parliament under section 55. The parliament can only disapprove of it. But the initial power to frame regulations lies with UIDAI which might be a case of excessive delegation.
To read the highlights from the PowerPoint Presentation made by the CEO of UIDAI, click here.
To read the highlights from submissions of Senior Advocates Meenakshi Arora, Sajan Poovayya, CU SIngh, Sanjay Hegde and Counsel Jayna Kothari, click here.
To read the highlights from submissions of Senior Advocates KV Viswanathan and Anand Grover, click here.