The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of the Centre and the UIDAI on the challenge to The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 and the Aadhaar (Pricing of Aadhaar Authentication Services) Regulations, 2019.
The bench headed by Justice S. A. Bobde was hearing a petition by ex-armyman S. G. Vombatkare and activist Bezwada Wilson which contends that the impugned ordinance creates a backdoor to permit private parties to access the Aadhaar eco-system, thus enabling State and private surveillance of citizens, and that the impugned Regulations permit the commercial exploitation of personal and sensitive information which has been collected and stored for State purposes only.
Firstly, it is argued that the impugned Ordinance and Regulations seek to re-legislate the provisions of the Aadhaar Act, 2016 which enable commercial exploitation of personal information collected for the purposes of the State (by permitting private parties to access the Aadhaar database) which was specifically declared unconstitutional in the 2018 constitution bench judgment of the apex court.
Second, the Aadhaar database lacks integrity as it has no value either than at most the underlying documents on the basis of which the Aadhaar numbers are íssued. As admitted before the top court, none of the data uploaded at the time of enrollment is verified by anyone. Permitting such a database to be Iinked with the existing databases of services offered under Chapter IV of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, and Section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, poses a grave threat to national security by permitting unverified data to creep into these databases.
Third, the Ordinance creates a new system of 'offline verification' that purports to bypass the UIDAI.
Finally, the Ordinance was promulgated in an improper exercise of the Ordinance-making powers of the President under Article 123 of the Constitution of lndia.
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