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UIDAI sees victory in SC judgement on Aadhaar, says private usage restricted

The Supreme Court Wednesday declared the Centre's flagship Aadhaar scheme as Constitutionally valid.

Published: 26th September 2018 04:51 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th September 2018 05:21 PM   |  A+A-

L to R Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Law Minister Ravi Shanker Prasad and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Unique Identification Authority of India UIDAI Ajay Bhushan Pandey during a press conference on Cabinet decisions in New Delhi. ( Photo | She

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The UIDAI Wednesday termed the Supreme Court judgement, which upheld Aadhaar as a constitutionally valid scheme, as a victory.

The Unique Identification Authority of India CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey told PTI that the 4:1 apex court judgement announced Wednesday is in favour of Aadhaar.

"It is 4:1 judgement in favour of Aadhaar. The court has declared Aadhaar constitutionally valid. It is a money bill. It can be used for pan card. It empowers poor and marginalised section. Aadhaar can be used for subsidies and government schemes so that there is no leakage of government funds. It can be used for income tax so that tax evasion and black money can be curbed," Pandey said.

The Supreme Court Wednesday declared the Centre's flagship Aadhaar scheme as Constitutionally valid.

The apex court's five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said Aadhaar is meant to help benefits reach the marginalised sections of the society and takes into account the dignity of people not only from personal but also from community point of view.

Justice Sikri struck down Section 57 of Aadhaar Act permitting private entities to avail Aadhaar data and ruled that Aadhaar authentication data cannot be stored for more than six months.

Reacting to the court order of annulling section 57, Pandey said: "The court has restricted private usage (of Aadhaar) without any backing of Law. Same has been suggested by Justice Shrikrishna Committee".

The top court said Aadhaar is serving much bigger public interest and Aadhaar means unique and it is better to be unique than being best.

There are three sets of judgements being pronounced on the issue.

The first of the three verdicts was pronounced by Justice A K Sikri, who wrote the judgement himself, CJI and Justice A M Khanwilkar.

Justice Sikri said robust data protection regime has to be brought in place as early as possible.

The Supreme Court added that CBSE, NEET, UGC cannot make Aadhaar mandatory and it is not compulsory for school admissions.

The apex court also said the linking of Aadhaar for the opening of bank accounts and for mobile connections is not mandatory.

Cyber Security expert and Indian Infosec Consortium CEO Jiten Jain said that the custodians and interpreters of the constitution have delivered a wonderful judgement on Aadhaar, which has taken into account privacy concerns of all stakeholder especially citizens.

"I am happy that Aadhar Act has been upheld and private sector entities have been virtually barred from collecting or linking Aadhar to any services they provide. (The) Supreme court has made it clear that governments can use Aadhaar to serve society but cannot use it to become dangerous master," Jain said.

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