NEW DELHI: Expressing disappointment at the Supreme Court verdict that upheld the legality of Aadhaar, the CPI-M on Wednesday said that benefits to the poor and marginalised can only be reached if Aadhaar is "explicitly made non-mandatory".
In a majority judgment, a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra on Wednesday upheld the legality of Aadhaar, restricting it to disbursement of social benefits and junking its requirement for cell phones and bank accounts.
In a minority judgment, Justice DY Chandrachud held that passing the Aadhaar law as a money bill was a fraud on the Constitution because it was not a money bill.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) hailed Justice Chandrachud's observation.
"The CPI-M has always maintained that Aadhaar should not be mandatory for any welfare scheme. The reality is that lakhs of poor are being denied universal rights in the name of non-authentication of Aadhaar. This renders vulnerable crores of poor people whose existence is dependent upon the accessibility to welfare schemes," the party said in a statement.
"The Supreme Court's so-called safeguards will prove to be ineffective. The benefits for the poor and marginalised sections can only be reached if Aadhaar is explicitly made non-mandatory. The CPI-M will continue its struggle on this score," it said.
The Left party pointed out that although the apex court has ruled that private companies cannot have access to data and Aadhaar is not required for bank accounts, mobile connections, admissions to educational institutions and entrance exams but private companies involved with the government would still have access to Aadhaar data.
"While this may provide some protection to right to privacy, a major problem arises when this central government has privatised and outsourced to private companies many government responsibilities.
"Such companies will have access to Aadhaar data. This is violative of the right to privacy -- a fundamental right -- ruled by the apex court itself," it said.