New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the Constitutional validity of Aadhaar, however the majority judgment on Aadhaar has said the metadata cannot be stored for more than six months. The Aadhaar Act had a provision to store allowed storage of such data for a period of five years.
The Supreme Court has read down Section 2(d) of the Aadhaar Act to refrain government authorities to store metadata of transactions. The Court also said that the Centre must bring a robust data protection law urgently.
The 4:1 majority verdict of the five-judge Constitution Bench has ruled that there is no need to link Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phones, but held that Aadhaar could be passed as a money bill.
The court further said that schools cannot insist on Aadhaar and read down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, barring sharing of information with corporate bodies. In a dissenting judgment, Justice DY Chandrachud said Aadhaar "in its entirety is unconstitutional" and that it couldn’t have been passed as Money Bill.
During one of the hearings on the validity of the Aadhar Act, Kapil Sibal argued that ‘the Aadhaar is now being mandatorily linked with every train travel by the IRCTC as well as with each air travel. This linkage makes the metadata available which is enough to track an individual throughout their lifespan."
At another moment during the marathon hearing Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi who appeared for UIDAI said that the petitioners “misunderstood the concept of metadata” and the UIDAI collected “limited technical metadata” to have control over the requesting entities which seek Aadhaar authentication for granting services and benefits.
The apex court said Aadhaar is meant to help benefits reach the marginalised sections of the society and takes into account the dignity of people not only from personal but also from community point of view.
The top court said Aadhaar is serving much bigger public interest and Aadhaar means unique and it is better to be unique than being best.