A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court, seeking quashing of the Aadhaar ordinance on the grounds that it was brought by the Centre bypassing the democratic process and in violation of the constitutional scheme.
The petition was filed by lawyer Reepak Kansal who claimed that the Aadhaar and Others Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 was promulgated by the government in a "hurry" to "overturn" the verdict of the apex court on the issue of the universal identification card.
The Supreme Court in its judgement on September 26 last year had held Aadhaar to be constitutionally valid. However, it had struck down a few sections of the Aadhaar Act and Regulations and gave several other directions in the interest of protecting the fundamental rights to privacy.
A Constitution bench of the apex court had pointed out a host of services for which linking of Aadhaar was not mandatory. While Aadhaar was made necessary for PAN card, income tax returns and for availing welfare schemes and subsidies given by the government, the public was spared of the trouble of requiring it for opening a bank account, getting a new SIM card or admission in schools and to appear in CBSE, UGC and NEET examinations.
The Union Cabinet had approved the ordinance last month to enable the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to have a more robust mechanism to serve public interest and restrain the misuse of Aadhaar.
Subsequent to this amendment, no individual shall be compelled to provide proof of possession of Aadhaar or undergo authentication for the purpose of establishing his identity unless it is so provided by a law made by Parliament.
The petition claimed that there was no extraordinary situation for such a law without the approval of Parliament.
The promulgation of the ordinance shows the government's inclination to seek political mileage, it said.
"Democracy is the basic tenet of the constitutional framework. Being the custodian of the Constitution, it is the duty of the court to protect democracy in India. Therefore, the act of the executive (promulgation of the ordinance) should be declared ultra vires of the Constitution," the petition said.
Kansal claimed that the ordinance would authorise private establishments and corporations to use, sell and make a profit by accessing private data in Aadhaar.
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