On Day 35 of the Aadhaar Hearing, Advocate Zoheb Hossain, appearing for the State of Maharashtra and UIDAI, resumed his submissions before the 5-judge bench of Dipak Misra, CJ and Dr. AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, Dr. DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, JJ. Attorney General KK Venugopal made submissions on Aadhaar Act, 2016 being passed as a Money Bill.
Below are the highlights from the arguments advanced on Day 35 of the Aadhaar Hearing:
- Advocate Zoheb Hossain:
- Data protection law is a positive obligation of the State. All rights give rise to a variety of duties. Aadhaar is a project to ensure socio economic rights of the people.
- All human rights are equally important, indivisible and are interconnected. Socio economic rights are as important as civil and political rights.
- a UN General assembly resolution says that ideal of freedom can only be achieved if conditions are created so that everyone can enjoy socio economic and civil political rights.
- To judge proportionality, reasonableness of the measure/restrictions have to be shown from the point of view of the general public and not from the PoV of one affected party.
- Right to privacy is an individual right which can be highly subjective or objective and the state cant be held to be vicariously liable for it. No petitioner has claimed infringement of right to privacy.questions the fact that right to Privacy violation is being heard as a PIL.
- A person may use her aadhaar for obtaining SIM, opening bank account and getting PDS. Her telecom company will not have details of the bank/PDS. Similarly, her bank will not have info on her telecom and PDS. UIDAI won’t have any of the three details.
- Aadhaar act provides adequate safety to identity and authentication records.
- A party cannot expect strict adherance to the principles of natural justice during times of emergency.
- Section 47 has been of challenge for not providing a right to complain. Purpose is discernible under the scheme of the act. A complaint can be filed to UIDAI therefore a person is not left remedy-less.
- Aadhaar is technical and it’s best if UIDAI is given the power to complain as they best understand the matters. Similar provision in Industrial Disputes Act was upheld. UIDAI may authorize a person to make a complaint if they feel it’s genuine.
- There are provisions under the IT act for offences such as Identity theft, violation of privacy etc.
- The purpose of Aadhaar including section 139aa is to promote redistributive justice and ensure substantial equality along with furthering the dignity of the individual. Aadhaar act and Income tax act are standalone acts and it cannot be said that parliament in it’s wisdom cannot make Aadhaar mandatory by way of an amendment.
- This argument has already been examined and decided in binoy viswam. If the objects of the two statutes are different then they are said to run parallelly and not intersect. There’s no conflict.
- Having Aadhaar for individuals also cures the evil vis-a-vis companies. Companies and individuals are treated differently in the income tax Act. That cannot be called unreasonable classification.
- Section 165 of companies Act allows a person to be the director of twenty companies. If Aadhaar is linked with PAN, it can be checked whether a genuine person is the director of more than one company. The genuineness of the company can also be verified.
- Problem of dummy directors and fake companies will be solved by linking Aadhaar with PAN.
- Attorney General KK Venugopal on the issue of Money Bill:
- The term “targeted delivery of subsidies” contemplates expenditure of funds. The expenditure has to go into thousands of crores from the consolidated fund of India. This itself brings it into the ambit of money bill under Article 110 of the Constitution.
- Even though the law has ancillary provisions, the main objective of the Act is delivery of services and benefits.
- Sections 7, 24 and 25 along with the preamble of the Act brings it totally within the ambit of Article 110. Not a single provision in the act is unnecessary or unrelated to the main purpose/pith and substance of the act which is giving subsidies.
- Chandrachud, J: Section 57 snaps the link with consolidated fund of India.
- AG: When the contract is placed before your Lordships, then it has to be examined. We may not know today what color or aspect the contract under Section 57 would take.
- Sikri, J: There’s no distribution of benefits and subsidies under section 57.
- AG: Section 57 will be saved by Article 110(1)(g).
- Chandrachud, J: You may be rewriting the Constitution!
To read the highlights from the submissions of Advocate Gopal Sankarnarayanan and Senior Advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, click here.
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.