The Supreme Court will deliver a crucial verdict on the constitutional validity of Aadhaar - the national identity card - on Wednesday. In May 2018, a Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the 2016 Aadhaar Act.
The 12-digit Unique Identification Number was made compulsory for a host of services including bank accounts, PAN cards, cell phone services, and passport and even driving licenses.
The four major issues that the Supreme Court will decide on while delivering the judgment are:
RIGHT TO PRIVACY:
Apart from the security concerns, Aadhaar has brought up a question of the citizen’s privacy, given that access to such sensitive data empowers the government to keep a close scrutiny of a person’s financial, personal information.
LINKING OF PHONE NUMBERS, BANK ACCOUNTS:
The government has been pushing to link the Aadhaar number with phone numbers, bank accounts, PAN cards and other services ranging from school admission forms to pension benefits. The Supreme Court will decide if it is permissible to use the 12-digit biometric ID for these purposes.
MONEY BILL IN PARLIAMENT
On March 11, 2016, the Lok Sabha passed the Aadhaar Act as a “money bill”, which meant that it only needed to pass in the Lok Sabha (where the government has a clear majority) and not the Rajya Sabha (where the government doesn’t have a clear majority).
The government had attempted to make Aadhaar compulsory for availing benefits and subsidies, but critics claim many people from the poorest sections have been denied welfare for not being able to produce an Aadhaar card or due to authentication failures.