Senior advocates, who have been leading the challenge against the Aadhaar scheme in the Supreme Court, today refrained from making any commitment on whether they would oppose the Centre's fresh move to introduce the latest concept of 16-digit 'Virtual Aadhaar ID'.
While senior lawyer Arvind Datar said he was not aware of what the government was doing, senior advocate Shyam Divan refused to even comment on the move, which the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) introduced yesterday with an aim to address privacy concerns.
Datar also said he did not know what the Centre was doing and added that he was "clueless" about how a Virtual ID would help address the issue of privacy, especially in rural areas.
"I don't know what this (the virtual ID) means. I am clueless about how it is going to help or how it will work in rural areas," he said.
Both Divan and Datar said they have nothing to say about the future stand they are likely to take in the apex court.
The UIDAI had yesterday introduced the concept of 'Virtual ID', which an Aadhaar card holder can generate from its website and give out for various purposes, including SIM verification, instead of sharing the actual 12-digit biometric ID. They have the option of not sharing their Aadhaar number at the time of authentication.
The Virtual ID will be a temporary and revocable 16 digit random number mapped to a person's Aadhaar number and the Aadhaar-issuing body will start accepting it from March 1, 2018.
From June 1, 2018 it will be compulsory for all agencies that undertake authentication to accept the Virtual ID from their users.
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