Aadhaar Mobile link: Are you receiving messages from your telecom operators threatening to disconnect cellphone connections if you fail to link your Aadhaar card number to it? If you are then don’t worry, the circular released by Department of Telecommunications (DOT) seeking Aadhaar mobile linking has no legal force, according to Indian Express report. This re-verification requires a user to visit a telecom service centre, undergo biometric authentication by putting their fingerprints on an authentication device. After doing this, one should hope that the details in the Aadhaar database must match with their cellular connection.
The circulars cited stray sentences from a dismissal order in February of a public interest petition in the Supreme Court titled as Lokniti Foundation v. the Union of India.
For a variety of reasons, this does not amount to a “direction” to the government as claimed in the DOT circular. First, the basis of the order and the references to Aadhaar emerges from a counter-affidavit filed by the government in the Lokniti case. Rather than volunteering information on the pre-existing court orders that limit the Aadhaar programme to a voluntary service restricted to specific services, the government instead advocates its use for re-verification. Second, the SC nowhere uses the phrase, “direction” which is a term of art contained in court orders to impart a binding force.
On August 24, in a landmark decision that will affect the lives of all Indians, the Supreme Court had unanimously declared that right to privacy was a Fundamental right under the Constitution. A nine-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar ruled that “right to privacy is an intrinsic part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 and entire Part III of the Constitution”, according to PTI report.
The ruling on the highly contentious issue was to deal with a batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes. Others members of the bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, R F Nariman, A M Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, S K Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer also shared the same view.The nine judges unanimously overruled the two earlier judgements of the apex court that right to privacy is not protected under the Constitution. The bench overruled the M P Sharma verdict of 1950 and that of Kharak Singh of 1960. The judgement in the Kharak Singh case was pronounced by eight judges and in M P Sharma it was delivered by six judges. Justice Khehar, who read the operative portion of the judgement, said the subsequent verdicts pronounced after M P Sharma and Kharak Singh have laid down the correct position of the law.