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Plea against mandatory use of Aadhaar to be heard today

LiveMint logoLiveMint 08-05-2017 Apurva Vishwanath

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will likely hear a plea on Tuesday challenging the Aadhaar Act and the mandatory use of the unique identification number in at least 17 government schemes.

Although Aadhaar has been embroiled in legal tussles since 2012 (the Supreme Court is hearing three cases), this is the first time the contents of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 are being challenged.

Child rights activist and Ramon Magsaysay awardee Shanta Sinha has moved the apex court arguing that some of the schemes for which Aadhaar is mandatory fall outside the purview of the Aadhaar law.

“The accuracy of biometrics is highly doubtful and that will exclude certain beneficiaries,” according to the petition which has been reviewed by Mint.

The petition also talks about alleged civil rights violations, and the potential use of the unique identification number for mass surveillance.

Interestingly, the case will be heard by a bench comprising justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan who heard petitions challenging the government’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for filing income-tax returns (ITRs) as well as for obtaining and retaining the permanent account number (PAN).

The court reserved its verdict in that case last week.

In August 2015, a three-judge bench referred the issue of whether an Indian citizen enjoys a fundamental right to privacy to a larger constitution bench.

The verdict of that constitution bench, which is yet to be constituted, will seal the fate of Aadhaar.

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