AADHAR : The Journey through 2 Governments and 1 Supreme Court

Few days back Supreme Court brought some Amendments in the Aadhar in aim of making it Actually serve it’s true purpose . BJP and CONGRESS both are saying that their Aadhar has won while it’s Competitor’s has been rejected . But who is right and whose Aadhar has been approved ; come on let’s find out .

Aadhar is a 12 Digit no. used for Unique identity by Indian residents based on demographic and residential info. Data is collected by UIDAI a statutory organisation formed in 2009 by GOI under UPA Regime under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Information Technology under AADHAR Act , 2016 .

Centre notified the New Aadhar Act but Discussions erupted whether it is a Money Bill or not . A money Bill pertains to taxes or spending or borrowing of the government and requires no approval from the Rajya Sabha. The Opposition allged that government introduced it as a money Bill only to circumvent the ruling NDA’s minority status in the Rajya Sabha. Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who moved the Bill, countered arguing that it deals with subsidies and money that is flown out of the Consolidated Fund of India and so it is indeed a money Bill . Whatever be the Truth just don’t forget that same NDA rejected the National Identification Authority of India bill introduced by UPA in 2010 .

Now let’s explore the differences between the Aadhar introduced by both the governments . (NOTE : I will use NOW for NDA’s Aadhar while PREVIOUS for UPA’s Aadhar)
Now anyone residing in India from 182 days is eligible for Aadhar while previous just residing in India was mentioned .

  • For identification Aadhar will be used by government but those who don’t have it will be asked for an alternative means of identification . Previously no such provision was there .
  • Now Aadhar no. can be used for identification by any public or private entities . The no. shall not confer any right of citizenship or domicile ; previously a similar provision was there but not exactly
  • Now identitfiaction need to be maintained through Photograph , Biometric information (Iris scan and Fingerprint) and Demographic information (name , DOB , address) ; previously almost same provisons were there but kind of biometric infos were not specified and photos were also not mentioned. Now the whole record of request of Verification and response to it should be maintained , Previously also such a provison was there but which records to be maintained were not specified . But both bills didn’t speicified to maintain Reason for request of Verification .
  • Now it need to be specified to the Card holder the purposes and manner in which it will be used and with whom the infos will be shared . Also the info taker has to ask for permission of card holder . No such provision was there previously .
  • The UID ; authority should consist of a Chairperson , two part time members and a Chief Executive officer . As per new authority the members shall have experience and knowledge of atleast 10 years in matter related to Technology , Governance , Law , etc . The whole revenue collected will be credited to Consolidated Fund of India . While previously the period of experience was not mentioned and amount was transferred back to authority . Now the use of Aadhar No. is not specified while previously pattern and extent of it’s use was clearly specified .
  • Contrary to previous phase , now it’s Clearly mentioned that all biometric information and Demographic attributes will not be used for any purpose other than Aadhar enrolment . It will be stored in Electronic form under IT ACT , 2000 ; while there was no such provision earlier .
  • The authority asking for data will not be given Iris Scan and Fingerprints unless and until the purpose is specified by regulation ; in other cases the authority can use data only for the purpose they have asked the consent for . No such provision was there earlier .
  • Information can be revealed only in event of national security ; when Joint Secretary in central government issues a direction for revaeling Aadhar no. and other biometric infos . The directive will be valid for 6 months and has to be reviewed by an Oversight Committee with cabinet secretary , secretaries of legal affairs and information technology . on the order of a district judge or a higher court, an individual’s biometric and demographic information, may be revealed . Previously also such provision existed but Oversight Committe and Validity proof were not specified .
  • If anyone gains Unauthorised access to Central Identities Data Repository or reveal any info stored there ; will be fined upto 10 Lakh and get Imprisonment upto 3 years . Previously the fine limit was upto 1 Crore . Also if any Authority violates the rule and discloses or uses the info for any other purpose than specified earlier will face same Punishment . Previously such provison didn’t existed .
  • Now if an offence is committed for which no penalty is specified, the person concerned shall be punished with imprisonment up to one year or fine up to Rs 25,000 or Rs 1 lakh (in case of a company) or both as per the case . Earlier the imprisonment period was 3 years . Also No court shall take cognisance of any offence except on a complaint made by the UIDA, says the new Act .

Now the Supreme Court has pronounced judgement on a Bunch of petitions challenging the Constitutional Validity of Aadhar ; giving decision 4:1 in favour of it . It has also bought some further amendments continuing some and let going some of previous rules . Now Aadhar is only mamdatory for PAN , ITR Filing and Welfare Schemes ; while it’s no longer mandatory for mobile connection , school admission , bank account , private entities , money wallet and various examinations . The Verdict given is :

  • There is nothing in the Aadhaar Act that violates the right to privacy of an individual
  • Aadhaar removes any chances of duplicity
  • There is a fundamental difference between Aadhaar and other ID proofs that Aadhaar cannot be duplicated
  • Other documents furnished to get Aadhaar are also valid documents of identity
  • Aadhaar Enrolment is a fool proof Aadhaar empowers the marginalised section of the society
  • There is sufficient defence mechanism for Aadhaar Authentication
  • The Government should not provide Aadhaar to illegal immigrants

The key judgements taken are :

  • Now Corporates or private entities can’t ask for Aadhar details ; Section 57 of Aadhar act which gave such power has been struck down
  • The decision of linking bank account with Aadhar is no longer required ; but Suspense is still over the opening of DeMat account .
  • Neither new nor existing phone nos. need to be linked now ; any ID Proof can be used for getting a No.
  • Children not having Aadhar can’t be denied welfare benefits (even New Borns are entitled to Aadhar) . Also Court gave the authority to children reaching 18 they can opt out of benefits .
  • Aadhar is not required for School admissions nor in any Examination conducted by CBSE , NET and UGC ; earlier students had to provide Aadhar details and also carry Aadhar in Examination
  • Section 33(2) which we discussed earlier in the Article that gave the right to Aadhar details to be disclosed in the name of national security ; has been repealed . Also section 47 has been repealed , the section did not allow any court to take cognizance of offences punishable under this act if the complaint was made by individuals. Only those officers who were authorized by UIDAI had the authority to file complaints related to Aadhaar. But now, even individuals can file complaints related to Aadhaar in courts

Also Aadhar is not mandatory for Digital Wallets ; now most companies ask for Aadhar details before availing full-fledged service . Also now the data can’t be stored for more than 6 months ; which was 5 years till now

The Judges who delivered the Historic Judgement are Bench consisting of CJI Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar, Justice A K Sikri, Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan .

Some Key and Epic statements given by them are :

It is better to be unique than be the best, because being the best makes you the number one, but being unique makes you the only one” – Justice Sikri

Attack on Aadhaar by petitioners is based on violation of rights under Part III of the Constitution, will lead us to become a surveillance State.” – Justice Sikri

Education took us from thumb impression to signature. Technology has taken us from signature to thumb impression”Justice Sikri

So here is the Final Structure of Aadhar in front of us for better Convenience and Administration of our Country . Discarding the claims of BJP and CONGRESS about whose Aadhar won and nor Supreme Court favoured or ruled out anyone’s Aadhar . INDIA’s Aadhar was rectified and approved and also it’s INDIA who has Won .



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