Much awaited Aadhaar Judgment is finally out.
The judgment authored by Justice AK Sikri, which has concurrence of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice AM Khanwilkar, has read down some of the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act 2016, struck down a few but significant ones (mainly Section 33(2), 47 and 57), and upheld the rest.
The following summary from the judgment gives clear idea about which all provisions got erased from the statute and which all will remain in a changed form.
Aadhaar Do Not Tend To Create A Surveillance State.
The majority judgment authored by Justice Sikri also holds that the architecture of Aadhaar, as well as the provisions of the Aadhaar Act, do not tend to create a surveillance state. It was observed that this aspect is ensured by the manner in which the Aadhaar project operates. The judges also found that it is very difficult to create profile of a person simply on the basis of biometric and demographic information stored in CIDR and -Insofar as authentication is concerned, there are sufficient safeguard mechanisms.
In this regard, the majority judgment holds as follows.
‘Reasonable Expectation Of Privacy’
The Court held that all matters pertaining to an individual do not qualify as being an inherent part of right to privacy. Only those matters over which there would be a reasonable expectation of privacy are protected by Article 21. It also held that the Aadhaar scheme, which is backed by the statute, i.e. the Aadhaar Act also serves legitimate State aim. However, the court clarified-
Aadhaar and Children
With regard to enrolment of children, the court held as follows:
Upholds Passing of Aadhaar Act as Money Bill
The bench which also observed that Aadhaar Act meets the concept of Limited Government, Good Governance and Constitutional Trust, upheld the passing of the Act as a ‘Money Bill’. It said that Section 7 is the core provision of the Aadhaar Act and this provision satisfies the conditions of Article 110 of the Constitution.
PAN Linking Upheld, Bank-Mobile Linking Unconstitutional
The court further held that Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, 1961 is not violative of right to privacy as it satisfies the triple test (I) existence of a law; (ii) a ‘legitimate State interest’; and (iii) such law should pass the ‘test of proportionality’,
However, the bench held that the move of mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank account does not satisfy the test of proportionality. It has been also held that Mandatory linking of mobile number with Aadhaar is held to be illegal and unconstitutional as it is not backed by any law.
Justice ASHOK BHUSHAN almost agrees with Justice Sikri judgment
Following is the summary from Justice Ashok Bhushan’s judgment