By Vidyut

Digital Lenders Association of India, Khosla Labs Pvt Ltd, Transaction Analyst (India) Pvt Ltd, Yulu Bikes Pvt Ltd and Handy Online Solutions Pvt Ltd have filed an intervention application in the Supreme Court in support of Aadhaar.

From the official websites of the companies, here are brief descriptions.

Digital Lenders Association of India was formed in November 2016 with the objective of bringing together Digital Lenders and associated players under one roof and to form an association which would help the ecosystem grow and flourish. It has “more than 35 members”.

Khosla Labs Pvt Ltd describes itself as a “startup incubator and innovation lab that focuses on solving large scale problems driven by technology and entrepreneurial zeal.” Khosla labs offers Aadhaar bridge “developer friendly API that allows organisations to easily integrate Aadhaar into their existing applications without the need of a separate Government license.”

Transaction Analyst (India) Pvt Ltd aims to bring affordable Digital Payment Services to all citizens of India through its Digital Partner Network using its unique strategic licenses from RBI, AADHAAR, NPCI and its own product IPs.

Yulu Bikes Pvt Ltd are “using IoT technology to create a vast network of shared dockless bicycles that can be rented easily by a user-friendly app in pay per use business model.”

Handy Online Solutions Pvt Ltd (OnGrid) utilizes next-generation technology and India stack to deliver verifications and background checks, helping businesses pan India verify anyone, anywhere with their consent.

Their application to the Supreme Court was reported by the Economic Times, which quoted Srikanth Nadhamuni, CEO of Khosla Labs, a co-applicant in the petition, as saying “It is not just the government which is using Aadhaar but private entities are also using (it) in a very big way. Lots of small companies, which are the backbone of the economy, are creating innovative solutions by using Aadhaar,” The Indian Express reports that there may be 300 companies using Aadhaar-based services based on industry estimates.

The application claims:

The business model of the applicants is dependent on the existence and implementation of the Aadhaar system in its current legislative framework. Any order passed in the captioned Writ Petition or its connected matters will affect the Applicants’ businesses and commercial interests as also those of their employee (sic), other stakeholders and the millions of beneficiaries of these services.

So, it appears that Aadhaar, promoted widely as enabling delivery of services to the people, in reality offers them nothing to which they previously did not have access, while often preventing the delivery of services to them due to problems caused by failure of Aadhaar technology. We also appear to have found businesses that are reliably being enabled by Aadhaar, and they aren’t the claimed beneficiaries of the Aadhaar scheme.

The Aadhaar Act does not actually aim to provide business opportunities for start ups and it is unclear why a start up taking a gamble on a disputed scheme is entitled to being protected to safeguard its income if Aadhaar is proven to be unconstitutional in court. One fails to see how a business loss could be the responsibility of the State or the Supreme Court if their business depends on an unconstitutional scheme for profit.

While the petition is filed, at the moment it is not admitted by the Supreme Court. It remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court admits it and if it does, when it is able to hear it, given the long pending petitions now being heard by the Constitution Bench