The Supreme Court will on Wednesday deliver its verdict on the constitutional validity of Aadhaar. After a marathon hearing that lasted 38 working days spread over four months, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had in May reserved its judgment on a clutch of petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the 2016 Aadhaar Act.
The linking of the 12-digit biometric number with various government services has been criticised by many for allegedly trying to violate the right to privacy. In an interim order in March this year, the apex court had said that the mandatory linking of bank accounts and mobile phones will stand extended ‘indefinitely’ till judgement on the petitions pending before it is pronounced.
The top court will essentially decide on whether Aadhaar meets constitutional provisions and whether the government can continue seeking it as a mandatory identification in the name of furthering its welfare goals.
The government had made Aadhaar compulsory for a host of services and welfare measures, including PAN cards, bank account, passport, mobile service and even driving licenses.
The petitioners argued that Aadhaar — built on a mammoth biometric database comprising fingerprints and iris scans — cannot be made mandatory. Demanding complete scrapping of Aadhaar, they also contended that this huge database was open to compromise, citing a number of instances of data breach that had triggered a huge debate.