On the Aadhaar hearing on Tuesday, The Supreme Court was told that parting of personal biometric and demographic information by transgenders and sexual minorities under Aadhaar Act is making them to exposed violence, surveillance and harassment by the State and private persons. NGO Swatantra told a constitution bench complained that one the personal demographic details of transgender and sexual minorities get declared, it is going to expose them to surveillance, violence and various discrimination which may include the violation to their fundamental right to life and liberty, equality, free speech and movement.
The five-judge bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, is hearing the bunch of petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act by a number of eminent personalities like Justice KS Puttuswamy, former Karnataka High Court Judge, Mangsaysay awardee Shanta Sinha, Kalyani Sen Menon, feminist researcher.
Adv. Jayana Kothari. Appearing for Swatantra told the Court that the agencies collecting the information for Aadhaar could not insist to disclose the gender identity as the information are not privately secured. As Supreme Court has granted the transgenders a status of the third gender, Kothari also said that it is a violation to the provision under Art. 14 of the Constitutional Law to make it compulsory to disclose the gender identity while parting with biometric and demographic information. She also referred the judgement of the Apex Court regarding the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right, that must include the right to information privacy which permits individual control over the dissemination of personal information including gender identity.
Adv. Kothari also dragged the reference from the previous and prevailing laws like Karnataka Police Act and Telangana Eunuchs Act, that these laws continue to enable the State to target and prosecute the transgender community solely based on their gender identity. Specifying the Telangana Eunuchs Act as ‘draconian colonial legislation’ told that it empowers the State to make arrests solely on the basis of gender identity. She added that there is a need of a brief review of the existing legislation, ongoing litigation and State action (and) prosecution may assure that wherever the State has been permitted to aggregate information about the transgender community, often it has led to a discrimination and oppression of the community in India.
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