For next few days, the Supreme Court relieved the citizens from linking their Aadhaar numbers to a range of services including bank accounts, mobile phones, and passports. The Court stated that a biometric identification is necessary for accessing social welfare schemes and subsidies, but till the time it decides on the question that linking Aadhaar card to private and public services is whether a violation to the fundamental right to privacy or not, it is not mandatory to link the 12 digits unique number to other private and public services.
In 2009, Aadhaar was launched in India which formed the world’s biggest biometric database with an aim to reduce wastage in public spending and streamline welfare payments. The government since then made it mandatory to use the 12 digits unique number for everything starting from small things like taking a new sim card for mobile phone to important things like filing income tax. Even renewal of passport and getting new passport done needs the Aadhaar number, which has been challenged by Advocate Vrinda Grover.
Earlier it was declared that linking the Aadhar to all account and other services is necessary and to be done within 31st March, but it is withheld till it is decided whether Aadhaar Act is violating the right to privacy or not.
The experts have raised their concern regarding the risk to the privacy and safety of data, and misuse of the personal and private data which requires increased surveillance. A seven judge bench under the leadership of the Chief Justice Dipak Misra said on March 7th that may be the call on the petition shall not be taken by March 31st, as the order may not be delivered before the vacation in May.
In August 2017, The Supreme Court made it clear that privacy is a fundamental right, but it also said that the matter questioning whether linking Aadhaar is a risk to that or not, shall be dealt with separately by the Court. Anyways the government said that the Court has accepted the point of risk to privacy, but subjected it to certain reasonable restrictions.
Many criticized the rule and expressed their concern regarding repeated data breaches and misuse of them, as the even most private data of the person is not so private now.
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