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Justice Chandrachud dissents in Aadhaar verdict, calls it unconstitutional

Justice Chandrachud said collection of data for Aadhaar may lead to individual profiling of citizens

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 


The Aadhaar Act could not have been passed as Money Bill as it amounts to a fraud on the Constitution and is liable to be struck down, Justice D Y Chandrachud said Wednesday.

Justice Chandrachud, who was part of the five-judge Constitution bench headed by Dipak Misra, wrote a separate judgement saying he had expressed some views different from that of the verdict pronounced by Justice A K Sikri.

Bypassing the Rajya Sabha to pass the Aadhaar Act amounted to subterfuge and the law was liable to be struck down as being violative of Article 110 of the Constitution, he ruled.

Article 110 has specific grounds for Money Bill and the Aadhaar law went beyond this, Justice Chandrachud said, adding that in the current form, the Act cannot be held to be constitutional.

He observed that the enactment of the Act does not save the Centre's Aadhaar scheme.

Noting that mobile phone has become an important feature of life and its seeding with Aadhaar posed a grave threat to privacy, liberty, autonomy, he favoured deletion of consumers' Aadhaar data by the mobile service providers.

Maintaining that the Prevention of Money Laundering Act Rules proceeded on assumption that every bank account holder is a money launderer, he said the assumption that every individual who opens a bank account is a potential terrorist or a launderer is "draconian", he said.

Justice Chandrachud also said collection of data may lead to individual profiling of citizens.

He said the Aadhaar programme violated informational privacy, self-determination and data protection. It has been admitted by that it stores vital data which is violative of right to privacy, he added.

This data was vulnerable to be misused by third party and private vendors, and that too, without the consent of an individual, Justice Chandrachud maintained and said the Aadhaar project has failed to remedy the flaws in its design, leading to exclusion.

Allowing private players to use Aadhaar will lead to profiling, which could be used to ascertain the political views of citizens, the judge, who pronounced his separate verdict, said.

He also held that denial of social welfare measures was violation of fundamental rights of citizens.

There is no institutional responsibility of the to protect the data of citizens, he said, adding that there was absence of a regulatory mechanism to provide robust data protection.

However, he said it was now impossible to live in India without Aadhaar but it was violative of Article 14.

If Aadhaar is seeded with every database, then there is chance of infringement of right to privacy, he said.

Justice Chandrachud said while Parliament possesses the right to make a law, the absence of protection leads to violation of various rights.

First Published: Wed, September 26 2018. 12:45 IST