The Centre today sought the Supreme Court’s permission to allow the CEO of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey, to make a PowerPoint presentation on the Aadhaar scheme in the court to allay concerns pertaining to the act. Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra has said that the apex court will fix the time for the presentation after discussing the matter with other judges of the bench.
Misra is heading a five-member bench of the apex court which is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar. The bench includes the CJI and Justices A K Sikri, D Y Chandrachud, A M Khanwilkar, and Ashok Bhushan. The Supreme Court bench said there are several technical aspects related to the Aadhaar scheme such as data security, surveillance, and exclusion of certain people from receiving benefits for the want of either authentication or the lack of Aadhaar number.
On behalf of the Centre, Attorney General K K Venugopal said that UIDAI chief executive Dr. Pandey may deal with technical aspects with more clarity. Venugopal said that the Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution have two aspects in which one deals with rights like Right to Food and Right to Education and the other pertains to Freedom of Conscience and Right to Privacy.
Yesterday, the Apex Court took note of the submission that a person cannot be asked to part with personal information under the Aadhaar scheme on the ground of freedom of right to religion. It asked that can a person refuse to follow the law in secular matters such as filing of income-tax returns. Meanwhile, the Supreme court has extended the March 31 deadline for linking of Aadhaar to avail various services and welfare schemes run by the government until it delivers its verdict on the validity of the 12-digit biometric number and its enabling law. The Aadhaar Scheme was launched in 2009 to remove fake identities from the home ministry-driven national population register in the country.