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Aadhaar scheme approved by Experts: Centre to Supreme Court

04 April 2018

Earlier, the government had emphasised that the right to privacy was not a fundamental right, following which the court ruled against its proposition.

The State has a legitimate state interest in rolling out Aadhaar, he said. The five-judge bench comprising justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan is headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

Citing the Aadhaar Act, UIDAI said that its provisions specifically prohibit it from controlling, collecting, keeping or maintaining any information about the objective of authentication either on its own or through any entity.

The only duty of the court is to expound the language of the law and it may not decide whether a particular policy decision is fair or not, he said.

In a digital era, Aadhaar is the best way to prevent money laundering and deliver subsidies and benefits, the government told the apex court bench which is examining the validity of the scheme.

The Centre also claimed that Aadhaar stood clear on the "test of proportionality" as all alternative measures had been considered before it was adopted.

"Unless there are any serious negative factors which will neutralise the basic requirements, the Act will pass the muster of constitutionality", KK Venugopal said.

Referring to separate concurring privacy verdicts penned by other judges, the Attorney General said they recognised that right to privacy was not "absolute" and legitimate state interests can override it.

The bench meanwhile has said "biological attributes" are open-ended and the authorities may expand and include some more biometric features in the Aadhaar scheme in future and asked whether it would not amount to "excessive delegation of powers" by Parliament.

To a question about national and state level figures of authentication failures, Venugopal said UIDAI can't provide numbers for the state level since it does not track the location of the authentication transactions. "Slightly higher authentication failure rates have been observed only for fingerprints for senior citizens above the age of 70", UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said in a written reply in the Supreme Court on Tuesday to a questionnaire from the petitioners challenging the Aadhaar scheme. Generate your VID from Resident.uidai.gov.in/web/resident/vidgeneration. "For now, you can use this for online address update in your Aadhaar from".

The UIDAI implemented on the exception handling mechanism, like digitally signed QR code into e-Aadhaar which allows agencies to verify the Aadhaar card in an offline manner.

On the issue of Aadhaar for minors, he said school officials, if permitted to act as "introducer" can enrol only when there is a parental consent to enrol. But it was "not permissible" for a child to opt out of Aadhaar after attaining adulthood, he said. "However, residents have the option of permanently locking their biometrics and only temporarily unlock it when needed for biometric authentication as per Regulation 11 of the Aadhaar (Authentication) Regulations, 2016".

Aadhaar scheme approved by Experts: Centre to Supreme Court