The Centre Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it was ready to accommodate concerns raised against Unique Identity Authority of India’s (UIDAI) plan to hire a “social media agency” to gauge public sentiments on Aadhaar. Attorney General K K Venugopal told a bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud that the government would file a detailed affidavit.
The court recorded the submission in its order. “It is submitted by Mr. Venugopal that he will file an affidavit as a consequence of which, in all probability, the suggestions given by learned counsel for the petitioner are likely to be accommodated.”
The court was hearing a plea by TMC MLA Mahua Moitra who said UIDAI had come out with a Request for Proposal (RFP) inviting tenders for this and that its “scope of work as per the RFP” includes appointing a private agency and assigning to it the task, inter alia, of employing a “Social Listening Tool” to monitor social media.
The bench had earlier issued a notice and sought the AG’s assistance. Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi said he was handed over a revised corrigendum Tuesday, but with only “cosmetic changes” made to it. Moitra’s plea contended that the “Social Listening Tool” sought to be deployed is “an attempt by the State to overreach the jurisdiction of this Hon’ble Court in matters where legality of social media surveillance and Aadhaar itself is under challenge and this Court is seized of these issues.”