SC asks Center to refrain from making Aadhar Card mandatory

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The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Center to explain why it was still imposing the Aadhar card as a mandatory requirement for availing any service.

The SC also instructed the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to refrain from sharing Aadhar card holders’ personal info with any governmental agency. Apparently, the bench comprising Justice J Chelameswar and Justice B S Chauhan used stern words to caution the government against making Aadhar a mandatory requirement for any service.

“If there are any instructions that Aadhaar is mandatory, it should be withdrawn immediately,” said the bench.

The apex court also stayed a previous order by the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court which directed sharing of information pertaining to Aadhar card holders with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for solving a rape case.

The CBI was demanding a database that included the biometrics of Aadhar card holders in Goa. The probe agency argued that the said information was necessary to identify the perpetrators of a rape of a minor inside a school premise in Vasco.

The SC order stated that biometrics data must not be shared with any agency without prior consent of the individual concerned. In fact, the existing policy of UIDAI also makes it mandatory to seek permission from an individual before giving away his or her biometrics to third parties.

“Building a system that can search using latent fingerprints, quite like criminal database searches, is not within the constitutional and legal mandate and scope of UIDAI and fundamentally against the core reason residents have provided their data voluntarily to UIDAI,” the petition filed by UIDAI said.

The right to privacy is one of the basic human rights of an individual and UIDAI is committed to protect this aspect,” it added.