Striking a dissenting note from the majority judgment, Justice D Y Chandrachud on Wednesday said the Aadhaar Act could not have been passed as a Money Bill as it amounted to a fraud on the Constitution and was liable to be struck down. He said the rights of 1.2 billion citizens could not be tested as a mere contract with UIDAI, the Aadhaar implementing agency.
Stating that the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, was constitutionally valid, the Supreme Court Wednesday struck down some of its provisions by a 4:1 majority. While the majority judgment was written by Justice AK Sikri in concurrence with CJI Dipak Misra and Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice Ashok Bhushan, the fifth judge on the bench, said he was in broad agreement with the verdict.
The brainchild of the UPA government, the Aadhaar Bill was passed by the Narendra Modi government in 2016 in the Lok Sabha as a Money Bill. However, former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh challenged the manner in which the Aaadhar Act was passed and the case was clubbed with the petitions.
“Bypassing the Rajya Sabha to pass the Aadhaar Act amounted to subterfuge and the law is liable to be struck down as being violative of Article 110 of the Constitution,” Justice Chandrachud said.
Justice Chandrachud also told telecom companies to delete all Aadhaar data gathered from customers. “Mobile phone has become an important feature of life and its seeding with Aadhaar poses a grave threat to privacy, liberty, autonomy,” he said. Chandrachud also said the collection of data might lead to individual profiling of citizens.
Touching upon the privacy aspect of the Aadhaar Act, Chandrachud said the programme violated informational privacy, self-determination and data protection. “This data is vulnerable to be misused by third party and private vendors, and that too, without the consent of an individual,” he said.
Last year, the Supreme Court had ruled that the right to privacy was an “intrinsic part of life and personal liberty”, guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution.