Updated: May 10, 2018 5:41:46 am
The Supreme Court on Wednesday acknowledged that failures in Aadhaar authentication could pose problems for the needy and said that the issue will have to be addressed. “It is a serious issue. It’s not largesse, it’s not charity…We have to find answers,” observed Justice D Y Chandrachud of the five-judge Constitution Bench hearing petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act. He was responding to petitioner advocate Shyam Diwan’s submission that authentication failures would lead to denial of benefits to those entitled to it.
Narrating a personal experience, Justice Chandrachud said his mother, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, was entitled to family pension as the wife of a former Chief Justice of India (late Justice Y V Chandrachud). The bank manager would come home every month and affix her thumbprint on the documents, he said, adding that this was how his mother used to get the pension. “So it is an issue,” he said, indicating that insisting on Aadhaar authentication for such people may lead to a situation where they do not get the benefits.
Meanwhile, Diwan, who concluded his arguments Wednesday, sought to assail a World Bank report which had praised the Aadhaar project and which was relied on by the government to bolster its case.
Diwan told the bench that the World Bank had partnered with a private entity Accenture Development Partnerships for preparing the report titled ‘Identification for Development’. UIDAI had also partnered with the firm to facilitate Aadhaar, he claimed, adding that the report was “essentially a sales pitch (by the company)…they wanted their technology to be adopted”.
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