The Aadhar Act passed in 2016 states that all the residents of India should be holders of the Aadhar card to authenticate their nationality so that they can avail the benefits provided by the government to its citizens. If and when this process of profiling under Aadhar is completed, it will become the world’s largest profile of biometric information of people.
The argument of the government for the initiation of this process is that it will make it easier for the government to provide subsidies and other governmental services and benefits to the authentic residents of the country and also help the people who are engaged in many ‘low’ jobs like scavenging and prostitution to assert their identity as nationals of the country. Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, speaking for Aadhar states that the development is necessary to free people from poverty.
While these arguments may seem all good and right, a huge outcry has risen against the provisions and benefits of Aadhar. It questions the motive of the government behind Aadhar and brings forth many cons and issues associated with it. The charges against Aadhar are very grave and now the case rests in the Supreme Court where a final decision is pending.
Shyam Divan was the first person to raise arguments against Aadhar. Following him are many prominent figures like Kapil Sibal, Paul Chidambaram, Arvind Datar amongst many. Some of their arguments against Aadhar are –
- Aadhar violates the right to privacy to privacy provided by the constitution.
- Our constitution states that every person of the country should avail of the opportunities like subsidies and other benefits. But Aadhar limits this provision to its holder only. In such scenarios, many poor people, who may not have an Aadhar card will be left out.
- The proper reasons for the compulsion of linking Aadhar with the bank accounts have been given.
- Linking of bank accounts with Aadhaar violates rights of a citizen guaranteed under Article 14 and 21 as they cannot operate accounts without linking it with the unique ID.
- Passing of Aadhar Act as a money bill seems to be very vague and dangerous.
- The information of Aadhar if leaked can prove to be very harmful to the concerned individual as it consists all our data.
- Aadhar information can be used for illegal profiling, tracking and tagging of an individual.
- If someone gets hold of one’s Aadhar number, it can be used for hacking into their numbers personal accounts including their bank accounts to empty them. This may give many chances to criminal minded people to commit offences.
These are only some of the major arguments raised against Aadhar. There exist many more like these which can give us an idea of how Aadhar may not be positive and beneficial for the people.
The case against Aadhar is now in the Supreme Court where a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra is hearing the matter. The bench, also comprising of Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan have expressed its doubts regarding whether Aadhar is the best model for the people or not. It said that the benefits provided by the government should be equally available for the people and should not be dependent on whether the people hold a certain card or not. The case continues in the apex court and the bench is yet to arrive at a final judgment.
If Aadhar is to be implemented in the country without posing any type of violation to the privacy of the people, than the government needs to ensure a very rigid and strict security system which will provide no probability of data leakage. Also the government will need to ensure that all individuals gets all benefits and services equally and no one is excluded from it. Otherwise something that is being done for the benefit of the people can go in a very negative direction and instead prove to be very harmful for the people.