SC notice on plea challenging law on private entities using Aadhaar
The petition by retired army officer S G Vombatkere and social activist Bezwada Wilson has urged the top court to declare the Aadhaar and other laws (Amendment) Act, 2019, and the Aadhaar (Pricing of Aadhaar Authentication Services) Regulations, 2...
The petition by retired army officer S G Vombatkere and social activist Bezwada Wilson has urged the top court to declare the Aadhaar and other laws (Amendment) Act, 2019, and the Aadhaar (Pricing of Aadhaar Authentication Services) Regulations, 2019, to be ultra vires, and to issue a mandamus asking private entities not to access and store the Aadhaar database of their customers.
The rules notified on March 7, 2019, allow private entities to use the data collected through Aadhaar scheme for e-KYC (know your customer). They need to pay Aadhaar authority Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) .`20 per e-KYC transaction, and 50 paise per yes/no authentication transaction.
This was challenged as violative of a previous Supreme Court ruling in Aadhaar,which upheld the scheme but disallowed its use by the private sector and commercialisation of the data. Besides, it was violative of the right to equality and right to privacy of a citizen, the plea had argued.
The latest petition, filed through advocate Vipin Nair, argued that the security of Aadhaar data was imperilled by allowing private players access to it. “The purported utilisation of the same for e-KYC and verification of identity for the use of services is manifestly arbitrary and compromises national security and the integrity of the financial system,” it said.
“The Act, unless set aside as being ultra vires the Constitution, will adversely affect and harm citizens across the country, individually and collectively.” It would set the stage for creation of a surveillance state, it said. The Aadhaar judgment had sought to protect the citizenry from these threats and the Act seeks to illegally resurrect and restore the programme that was drastically curtailed, it said.
The Act, by seeking to expand the scheme to cover ‘non-section 7’ situations where no subsidy, benefit or service relatable to the Consolidated Fund of India was involved, was trying to prop up the discredited surveillance architecture, it said.