The Supreme Court pronounced its verdict on a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act in which it upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, but put restrictions on its use. A five-judge bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, reserved its verdict in the case on May 10 after a 38-day hearing.
The SC was to decide on whether the Aadhaar Act, 2016, is valid, if the government can demand biometric and demographic information from every resident of the country and if a citizen’s privacy is a fundamental right.
There were three separate judgments today from Justices Sikri, Chandrachud and Bhushan. The CJI and Justice Khanwilkar will not deliver separate judgments and have concurred with Justice Sikri. In his verdict, Justice Sikri has struck down portions of the law that made it mandatory for Aadhaar to be provided to private corporations for various services. The court said it can be used only for government services. It also said that children can’t be excluded from school admissions due to lack of Aadhaar.
Justice Chandrachud has said that the Aadhaar Act shouldn’t have been passed as a Money Bill and has also told telecom companies to delete all Aadhaar data received from customers.
Justice Ashok Bhushan has largely agreed with the majority verdict and also noted that seeking biometric data wasn’t a violation of an individual’s privacy.
Aadhaar verdict in Supreme Court today: Supreme Court to decide constitutional validity of Aadhaar. Follow LIVE UPDATES in Malayalam | Bengali
SC verdict reaffirms Modi govt's efforts to eliminate corruption: MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar
Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the top court's verdict reaffirmed the government's efforts to eliminate 'corruption and leakages in use of public money'. In a press statement, he said, "I welcome the Aadhaar judgement today by the Supreme Court as a petitioner who joined in the original Aadhaar petition in 2013. It reaffirms the steps that Narendra Modi government took to transform UPA Aadhaar into the current corruption free Subsidy delivery platform - to ensure that crores of poor Indians who had to struggle with corrupt middlemen to avail their Government benefits no longer have to do so."
Aadhaar has become a symbol of digital economy: SC
The use of the Hindi word 'Aadhaar' would not lead a person to its dictionary meaning but everyone would associate it with the card used to identify an individual that has now virtually become a symbol of a digital economy, the top court had said, while delivering its judgement. Noting that Aadhaar had also become a household name, it said its use has spread like a "wildfire". "It is better to be unique than the best. Because, being the best makes you the number one, but being unique makes you the only one," SC said. The apex court also said that 'Aadhaar' has become a symbol of a digital economy and opened up multiple avenues for a common man.
UIDAI sees victory in SC judgement
Terming the verdict as a "victory", Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said the 4:1 apex court judgement announced is in favour of Aadhaar. "It is 4:1 judgement in favour of Aadhaar. The court has declared Aadhaar constitutionally valid. It is a money bill. It can be used for pan card. It empowers poor and marginalised section. Aadhaar can be used for subsidies and government schemes so that there is no leakage of government funds. It can be used for income tax so that tax evasion and black money can be curbed," Pandey said.
Lesson for law ministry: P Chidambaram
Several provisions of the Act and the Regulations have been struck down as unconstitutional.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) September 26, 2018
That is a humbling lesson for the Ministry of Law.
For BJP, Aadhaar is a tool of oppression: Rahul Gandhi
UPA's policy vindicated: Chidambaram
The majority judgment in the Aadhaar case has retrieved the UPA's original idea of Aadhaar. Aadhaar was meant to be a benign instrument to deliver benefits, subsidies and services to the poor. Glad that the UPA's policy has been vindicated.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) September 26, 2018
SC verdict to empower marginalised: Ravi Shankar Prasad
Reiterating Jaitley, Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "This judgement is a judgement of empowering democracy and the marginalised. The court himself said no state-sponsored surveillance is possible. The Congress's stand on Aadhaar is nothing but arrogant."
Jaitley attacks Congress
"Everyone who has been criticizing Aadhaar should understand that they cannot defy technology. The mainstream should accept changes, one can understand the fringe being against," Jaitley said. Upping the ante against the Congress, he said, "The Congress cuts a very sorry figure here, they had introduced the idea but they did not know what to do with it."
SC verdict 'historical order': Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
Terming the SC verdict as a "historic order", Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, "Aadhaar's concept has been accepted after judicial review. We welcome this decision of the Supreme Court."
Congress's Kapil Sibal says they will move Supreme Court again
Congress's Kapil Sibal says that they will move Supreme Court seeking that a larger bench consider whether the Aadhaar Act should have been passed as a Money Bill or not.
Only Justice Chandrachud on the five-judge bench said that the law shouldn't have been passed as a Money Bill and called it 'subterfuge'.
Lawyer for petitioners says verdict will need to be read carefully
Lawyer for the petitioners, Arvind Datar, said that the judgment has said that no meta data, which is granular data within Aadhaar, can be further analysed.
He said they were happy that meta data from Aadhaar can' t be shared with private corporations. Now whatever data is stored for authentication has to be struck down after six months, the lawyer said.
The lawyer also said that the judgment has to be read carefully to understand what all has been said.
Attorney General KK Venugopal says he's very happy with the judgment
ANI reports that Attorney General KK Venugopal has said that he is "very happy with the judgement". It is a landmark and remarkable judgment, he said.
Congress spokesperson says judgment's a blow for BJP, BJP says it's a good one
Congress spokesperson and lawyer for the petitioners Abhishek Manu Singhvi has said that the verdict is a blow for the BJP. He said that the judgment is very important. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra also said this judgment a good one.
So what are the sections of law struck down by the Supreme Court?
Just in case you missed it, the Supreme Court struck down various provisions of the Aadhaar Act while holding it constitutional.
Here's a guide on what each of these sections dealt with.
How the verdict ended: 4-1 in favour of Aadhaar
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar and Ashok Bhushan favoured the Aadhaar Act. Justice D Y Chandrachud dissented.
So in sum, Aadhaar stays but there are a lot more restrictions on who can seek the data of people.
Lawyer for petitioners Prashant Bhushan says that Aadhaar judgement is a major relief for people
Speaking outside court, lawyer for the petitioners Prashant Bhushan has said that the court has ruled that Aadhaar will not be mandatory any more. Bhushan said that there was a difference in opinion over whether the legislation could have been passed as a Money Bill. He said Justice Chandrachud's judgment is a very strong comment on how the bill was passed by Parliament. Bhushan says it gives major relief to people who have been complaining about needing Aadhaar for everything. Additionally, reports say that the judgement may be 1000 pages long. Talk about heavy reading.
Justice Bhushan says it's ok to seek biometric data
In his judgement, Justice Askok Bhushan has said that seeking biometric details for Aadhaar does not violate an individual's fundamental right to privacy. He also said that Aadhaar's architecture does not facilitate surveillance, reports G Ananthakrishnan.
A helpful guide on what you DON'T need Aadhaar for
The Supreme Court's verdict on Aadhaar means it's no longer compulsory for you to provide Aadhaar-based fingerprint authentication for various services from private companies. Here's a helpful guide on what you don't need it for.
Justice Bhushan says he broadly agrees with Justice Sikri
Justice Ashok Bhushan reading his judgment says that he "broadly agrees” with the judgement of Justice Sikri, which is the majority judgement.
Justice Chandrachud says telecom companies should delete Aadhaar data
Justice Chandrachud says seeding mobile phones with Aadhaar data poses grave danger to individual liberty, reports G Ananthakrishnan.In his judgment, the Supreme Court judge has instructed telecom operators to delete all data they have collected from users.
Justice Chandrachud also says private companies can't take Aadhaar
Justice Chandrachud has punches holes in Aadhaar safety and agrees with Justice Sikri that section 57 which requires private parties to seek Aadhaar is unconstitutional, reports G Ananthakrishnan
Justice Chandrachud says passing Aadhaar Act as Money Bill qualifies as 'subterfuge'
The Indian Express's G Ananthakrishnan has more inputs on the verdict being read.
"Ruling party many not have majority in Rajya Sabha, but it shouldn’t have introduced Aadhaar bill as Money Bill...That would qualify as subterfuge...The debasement of democratic institutions cannot be allowed," Justice Chandrachud says.
So here are the broad contours of the judgment so far - Private companies can't demand Aadhaar - Children can't be denied any benefit due to not having Aadhaar. So no Aadhaar is needed for school admissions or any other government scheme which benefits children. - You have to link your PAN card with Aadhaar but don't have to provide Aadhaar to banks, telephony companies or any other corporation- Individuals can approach courts to file cases under the Aadhaar Act.
Justice Chandrachud says that Aadhaar Act needn't have been a money bill
One of the clauses of contention was the fact that Parliament passed the Act without the Rajya Sabha debating it. This is because it was classified as a money bill. However, Justice Chandrachud has said he differs with Justice Sikri on whether the bill should be a money bill. Justice Chandrachud says that it shouldn't have been a money bill.
Supreme Court strikes down provision which prevented individuals from filing cases under Aadhaar Act
The Supreme Court has also struck down a section of the law which prevented individuals from filing cases under the Aadhaar Act. Earlier, only the UIDAI and its officials could file cases, but now even indviduals can.
Justice Chandrachud says Digital India cannot submerge identities
“Technology confronts the future of freedom itself...Quest for digital India must be cognisant of the digital divide...Digital nation must not submerge the identities of a digitised citizen,” says Justice Chandrachud.
No Meta data can be stored: Supreme Court
No meta data to be stored in current form. If the information of a person’s personal information is sought to be released, he or she shall have an opportunity to be heard
No Aadhaar for school admissions: SC
Justice Sikri: "For children enrolment, consent of parent or guardian needed. On attaining majority, if child wants to exit, should be given permission to do so. Aadhaar not compulsory for school admissions."
Private bodies can't seek Aadhaar data: SC
Justice Sikri judgement strikes down Section 57 of Aadhaar Act, 2016, which says private body corporates can seek Aadhaar data. Says it’s unconstitutional.
Section 33(2) of Aadhaar Act struck down
Supreme Court satisfied that there is sufficent defence mechanism for authentication. Some provisions relating to authentication are however struck down. Section 33(2) (National security exception for disclosure of Aaadhar information), Section 57 of Aadhaar Act struck down. "We have concluded that it is simply difficult to care the profile of a person on the basis of data stored in CIDR. Authentication data should not be stored beyond 6 months. Current rule that it can be archived for 5 years struck down," Justice Sikri says.
Justice Sikri on technology advancement
Justice Sikri: "Education took us from thumb impression to signature. Technology has taken us from signature to thumb impression"
Concept of human dignity enlarged in judgment: Justice Sikri
Justice Sikri says that concept of human dignity has been enlarged in the (privacy) judgment. Proportionality is to be adjudged after laying down certain certain norms: privacy, whether there's larger public interest...
Justice Sikri now on petitioner's plank of infringement to Privacy verdict
Justice Sikri: The main plank of challenge to Aadhaar project and Aadhaar Act is that it infringes Right to Privacy. Justice Sikri says that heavy reliance has been placed on Privacy judgment of 2017.
Justice Sikri's Aadhaar Verdict
Justice Sikri: 'Aadhaar eliminates any chance of duplication, Justice Sikri observes. Sikri also states that enrolment was fool proof. Justice Sikri says it empowers marginalised socities.' Justice Sikri also states that other documents submitted to obtain Aadhaar are valid documents of identity.
Justice Sikri on submissions of petitioners:
'Attack on aadhaar by petitioners is based on violation of rights under Part III of the Constitution, will lead us to become a surveillance State.'
Aadhaar Verdict | Justice Sikri has written for himself, CJI Misra and Justice Khanwilkar
Justice A K Sikri says he has written a judgment for himself, CJI Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar. "It is better to be unique than to be best.. Aadhaar is based on being unique..." Justice Sikri says, reading out the majority verdict on Aadhaar. "Aadhaar has become the most talked about expression in the recent years," J Sikri adds.
Aadhaar verdict today | Judgment expected anytime now
The bench in court No 1 is currently assembling post which three justices will deliver their verdicts. Three of the justices will read out their verdicts. CJI Misra and Khanwilkar will not be reading out their verdicts as they have concurred with one of the three justices. Justice AK Sikri, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan will read out their verdicts in that order.