Supreme Court to pronounce verdict on Aadhaar scheme

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, is scheduled to pronounce on Wednesday its much-awaited judgment on whether the Aadhaar scheme is unconstitutional and a violation of the fundamental right to privacy and personal body autonomy.The five-judge Bench, also comprising Justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan reserved their judgment in May last, thus ending over seven years of various challenges against Aadhaar before various apex court Benches.

The Constitution Bench is scheduled to give three opinions by Justices Sikri, Chandrachud and Bhushan. The challenge against Aadhaar had begun even before the Aadhaar law came into existence in 2016. In hearings that spanned over four months, the government and the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) time and again stressed before the Constitution Bench that Aadhaar has covered 99% of the population and is voluntarily accepted as a unique identifier by the masses. An Aadhaar card gives the poor the dignity of an identity, the government argued.

On the other hand, 27 different petitions argued that Aadhaar is an electronic leash that leads the gullible citizen towards a totalitarian State. The aggregation of personal data of citizens in a central base is prone to leakage. The record of personal data of every citizen would enable the State in future to profile citizens, track their movements, assess their habits and silently influence their behaviour. Over time, the profiling enables the State to stifle dissent and influence political decision-making, senior advocate Shyam Divan argued for the petitioners.

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