On day 30 of the Aadhaar Hearing, Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi continued with his argument probabilistic method that he had begun on Day 29 of the hearing 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 Day 30 of the Aadhaar Hearing:
- Dwivedi: The algorithms which are probabilistic are not all identical. Parliament was conscious of the exclusion that could happen. It was also aware of the digital divide. Hence, provided three alternatives under section 7 of the Aadhaar Act. 2016. There can’t be denial of service. Option to furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number under section 7 if authentication can’t be done.
- Chandrachud, J: Does proviso to section 7 apply to third alternative?
- Yes, it is applicable in case an individual has applied but has not been assigned Aadhaar number.
- There is no question of denial. Denial is something that should not happen, ought not to happen. Though some more actions would be required to ensure this.
- For limited purpose, ration cards are also included. If for some reason, one member of the family is unable to authenticate, any other member of family can come for authentication.
- Chandrachud, J: Is there is any isolated pocket in country where Aadhaar services have not been able to reach?
- In such a case, alternative methods will apply.
- As of now-pending the judgment, even if someone has not enrolled for Aadhaar, there’s no compulsion under section 7. There’s still time. The third alternative under S. 7 can apply only if the enrolment process has begun.
- In case of PDS scheme, the central govt. is competent to replace the identification card with which benefit is to be obtained if it thinks that the latter is more reliable. Thus, it can replace the ration card with Aadhaar card.
- Every institution will have some kind of identification procedures and we will have to follow them. These are regulatory processes.
- When you identify, it is a matter of dignity. Because you are recognised. We all strive to get recognised. It is a matter of pride.
- No right is absolute. Regulations are permissible.
- Chandrachud, J: There should be a choice of identity. If the choice is not there, it is not proportional.
- Dwivedi: If you have to get benefits from an institution,you should comply with the requirements prescribed by it. Aadhaar is unique and universally applicable. No language barrier like other ID cards.
- Chandrachud, J: If my biometric are attached to every transaction I undertake, it ceases to be just an identification mark.
- Dwivedi: Only one finger or one iris is used for authentication. It discloses no information.
- Chandrachud, J: Fingerprint by itself doesn’t disclose any info. But, when it attaches with all the other information, it forms a wealth of information. There comes the need of data protection.
- Dwivedi: Data is disaggregated between different REs.
- Chandrachud, J: In such a case, aggregation of data is all the more possible.
- Dwivedi: In most cases, authentication is done only once. Eg. PAN. It is for lifetime. For sim cards, it is done only at the time of obtaining it. So, where is this multiplication of authentication from morning to evening coming from? Realistically speaking, there’s no trail of authentication from morning to evening. No real time tracking is done.
- Shyam Divan interjects: The demo of withdrawing Rs 100 using a thumbprint was shown in the court. That’s tracking.
- Dwivedi: Where is it provided in law that you need to give thumbprint every time you transact? You only have to link it with your bank account.
- Shyam Divan: I am asked for my thumb impressions everytime I need to open a Fixed Deposit.
- Dwivedi: Not everybody is capable of opening FD everyday. It is done only once or twice in a year generally.
- Dwivedi (On dignity): There are two parts of preamble.
- “To secure to all its citizens…” and
- “to promote among them all…”
- Securing justice is a part of the basic feature of the Constitution. Minimum requirements to enable a man to survive to live is a position duty of the State. And it is for these minimum requirements that the Acts like NFSA, etc. are there.
- Chandrachud, J: Constitution protects dignity in all its forms.
- Sikri, J: Food is a part of dignity and so is privacy. When there’s a conflict between the two, it has to be considered which should prevail. But, why can’t we say that there’s no conflict. Both are to be ensured.
- CJI: The point is when you take fingerprints for Aadhaar, it gets stored in Aadhaar. This is an invasion of right to privacy.
- Dwivedi: Any system which involves biometrics will require storage of biometrics- either at single point or multiple.
- CJI: Minimal intrusion with legitimate interests have to be ensured.
- Dwivedi: Providing services and benefits is to ensure dignity and liberty of individuals. Which is a legitimate interest.
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.