NEW DELHI: Even as it rejected the argument that Aadhaar is a threat to national security, the Supreme Court struck down certain provisions of the Aadhaar Act to ensure there was no compromise on safety at any cost. Regarding instances where non-verification of SIM cards posed serious security threats, the top court struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act as unconstitutional, which means that no company or private entity can seek Aadhaar identification any longer.
The five-judge bench dismissed the argument of the petitioners that Aadhar could be used for surveillance. Trashing the argument, the bench said the contention that Aadhaar could lead to profiling and mass surveillance is “far fetched”. Justice Ashok Bhushan described Aadhar’s defence mechanism as an almost “fool-proof” system.
The top court held that a reading of the Aadhaar Act and the submissions made by the UIDAI made it clear that there are sufficient checks and balances to protect data. “The architecture of Aadhaar as well as the provisions of the Aadhaar Act do not tend to create a surveillance state,” said the majority of judges. For allaying fear, the bench issued some directions such as authentication record not to be kept for more than six months, not to keep metadata, and also asked the government to create a robust data protection regime.