Terming the Supreme Court verdict upholding the constitutional validity of Aadhaar as a “historic judgement”, the Centre on Wednesday hit out at the critics of the Unique Identification Number (UID) saying those finding fault in the concept must realise that “one cannot defy technology”.
“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,” Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters in the national capital.
Launching a direct attack on the Congress for continuously targetting the government on the matter, Jaitley said, “The Congress cuts a very sorry figure here, they had introduced the idea but they did not know what to do with it.”
Pushing aside the Opposition’s claims that the Aadhaar is nothing less than a surveillance tool, Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was also attended the press briefing, said, “The Supreme Court has held that the purpose of Aadhaar is legitimate and is in the interest of the state. It is not a surveillance tool.”
The BJP ministers also hailed the top court’s order, saying the concept of Aadhaar was finally accepted following judicial review. “It is a historic order, Aadhaar’s concept has been accepted after judicial review. We welcome this decision of the Supreme Court,” Jaitley said.
Through the implementation of Aadhaar, Jaitley said, the government is saving Rs 90,000 every year with targeted delivery of government schemes. “There are now 122 crore people in India who have Aadhaar cards and our estimation is that by identifying beneficiaries of government schemes and ensuring that there are no fake or duplicate or non-existent beneficiaries, we are already saving Rs 90,000 crore every year, he said.
“Supreme Court’s verdict on Aadhaar is a victory of good governance, empowerment of ordinary people and the efficient delivery of public services to people of India,” Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Declaring the Aadhaar Act as constitutionally valid, the Supreme Court today struck down some of its provisions by a 4:1 majority. The apex court said a person’s rights could not be denied on the ground of lack of the unique ID.
The court ruled that Aadhaar cannot be mandatory for school admission, mobile connection, opening bank accounts. However, linking Aadhaar with PAN remains a must.