The Aadhaar Battle Has To Go On

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Supreme Court Judgement on Aadhaar was expected on these lines too though the dissenting judgement of Justice D Y Chandrchud will definitely go down in the history of modern India a valiant stand of judiciary and will be quoted more than the majority judgement in future, by the legal experts, judges, activists and other who believe in freedom of human being and want their complete protection from the surveillance by the state apparatus.

Though the entire judgement will be needed to be studied carefully which I am sure, legal experts will do, it is good that the linkages of Aadhaar number with Bank and mobile services have been done away with. I hope the Railways, Insurance Companies who are forcibly asking customers to provide their Aadhaar details will not force them to do again. The linking of Aadhaar number with PAN and for the filing of Income Tax Return will now be mandatory though we hope that would also be challenged in the Supreme Court.

Aadhar for the welfare schemes was the earlier aim of the Manmohan Singh led government of UPA. The court has directed that no child will be denied admission or mid day meal in the absence of Aadhaar. Similarly, no person will be denied the state welfare services if their biometrics dont match. The Court has the government to formulate and design alternative methods too so that people are not denied their legitimate right under the pretext.

Though I have only read the contents appeared in various newspapers which makes it that Aadhaar is now mandatory for every one except those who have nothing to do with the governance structure. If you do not avail sarkari schemes, then your IT returns and PAN has to be linked. For those who will have to use government welfare methods, will have to use it. The court made it clear by its judgement that it has defined and made Aadhaar limited for usage but it can not be done away with.

After the Privacy judgement, this was the biggest opportunity for all but the Courts have given mixed feeling. May be these are not great times but definitely even in these disappointing hours, we must stand and salute Justice D Y Chandrachud who has been overruling many of his father Justice Y V Chandrachud’s earlier judgements which is a welcome sign. It gives us a lot of hope as judiciary is part of our system and system cant ignore the growing new realities of our time. The respect for human rights, liberty, privacy must be part of any judgement. We hope the honorable courts will take into cognizance various international laws and UN covenants in this regard.

While this is not the time to rest. Definitely those who are experts on cyber security and digitalised world, will work on protecting our data. We salute to all those who worked hard on this issue. It was a very complicated issue. For a person like me, I was not sure how much the threat it contained but I only knew one fact that it is a surveillance mechanism and a methods for harrassment of those who do not agree with the government. Thankfully, due to theses brilliant arguments, some of the things have been protected though we are still prone to their misuse for which, we sincerely hope, all those worked hard day and night to build their arguments in the courts, will provide support.

We also know that Court will have to give a quick summary too of its direction as such huge judgements are bound to be misinterpreted by all. The officials are more ‘experts’ in misinterpreting it particularly the banks, insurance agencies, the Block level officers where the welfare schemes are delivered. It is time those things are made fool proof. It is also time for all those who have lost their money due to digital frauds. Hope the courts will have time to listen to them and give a concrete direction, unambiguous one to the state and all its apparatus in the greater interest of our privacy and more importantly, the security of the bank accounts so that none can be able to play fraud with it.

In all, I hope, the regular call for linking mobile and bank account with Aadhaar will close. We know many crooked officers do it despite all this citing government order, time for the finance ministry to send clear guidelines based on Supreme Court Judgement to bank, insurance companies, mobile companies and all those offices which are dealing with public. Let us see how the government and its officer behave in the coming days on this issue.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at twitter @freetohumanity Email: [email protected]

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Vidya Bhushan Rawat

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at twitter @freetohumanity Email: [email protected]

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