January 17, 2018
One of the most touted and contentious issues of our times i.e. Aadhaar case was taken up by 5-Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court today. With all eyes on the case, the opening statement by Senior Advocate Shyam Divan have been remarkable and compels us to ponder upon biometric technology deployed for Aadhaar database and vulnerability to a citizen’s right to privacy. Some of the submissions made by the Senior Advocate on behalf of Petitioners are enumerated below:
- If Aadhaar Act and programme are allowed to operate unimpeded then it will hollow out the Constitution.
- The Programme seeks to tether every resident of India to an electronic leash
- The Programme is designed to track transaction across life of all citizen
- The Aadhaar database would enable the State to profile citizens and profiling enables State to stifle, dissent and influence political decision making
- Aadhaar alters the relationship between State and citizen. It diminishes the status of citizen
- The State is empowered with a ‘switch’ by which it can cause the civil death of an individual. Where every basic facility is linked to Aadhaar and one cannot live in society without an Aadhaar number, the switching off of Aadhaar completely destroys the individual.
- The Constitution balances rights of individuals against State interest. Aadhaar completely upsets this balance and skews the relationship between the citizen and the State, enabling the State to totally dominate the individual.