The Supreme Court will today deliver its verdict in the case challenging the Constitutional validity of Aadhaar. A 5-judge bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, reserved its verdict in the case on May 10 after a marathon 38-day hearing. The bench also comprises Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan. The CJI and Justice Khanwilkar will not give separate judgments, but will concur with one of the other judges.

The verdict is expected at 10:30 a.m. Here are some of the important judgments and tweets:

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12:30 pm:

Justice Bhushan has pronounced his judgement, here are the key takeaways from his judgement. The justice largely agrees with the majority judgement.

– Aadhaar Act does not violate right to privacy, and passes the three-fold test of the 9-judge bench which declared privacy as a fundamental right under the Constitution last year.
– Upheld Section 7, Section 59, Bank linking and Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act
– Says implementation problems do not invalidate Section 7, and there is no material record to show that exclusion has increased after Aadhaar. Authentication success rates can improve, even if it is probabilistic as of now.
– Says authorities have to take steps to minimise exclusion
– Section 57 partially struck down.

12:15am:

Justice Chandrachud has, in fact, given a completely dissenting judgement from the majority judgment by Justice Sikri. The Justice has held that the Aadhaar, as a whole since 2009, is completely violative of privacy and is unconstitutional.

He says the data collected by the Aadhaar programme shall be kept for a year, if the government is unable to reenact a reasonable law, it must destroy the Aadhaar data. Otherwise, the new Act can be used to govern Aadhaar.

He has struck down the following:
– Section 7, and Section 57

Section 7 says that an Aadhaar number can be made mandatory for access any government subsidy, benefit, or service. Section 57 allows inexhaustive use of Aadhaar in the private sector.

Bank and mobile number linking orders by telecom operators and banks, and orders that telecom operators immediately delete and destroy Aadhaar data collected by them.

He has pronounced the following in his judgment:

  • Potential surveillance is possible through Aadhaar.
  • Further holds that the government’s and UIDAI’s claims on security and safeguards have not only not been convincing enough, but fall short of standards required to protect privacy and data protection.
  • Says that rights of citizens and national security cannot be protected by merely a contract between UIDAI and private foreign corporations.
  • Notes that the the UIDAI has taken no responsibility for identification.

 

11:50 am: Justice Chandrachud has written a judgment which partially dissents from Justice Sikri’s opinion. He says that Aadhaar does not qualify as money bill and calls it a subterfuge and a fraud on the Constitution despite Section 7 of the Act. Section 7 says possession of Aadhaar can be made mandatory for a person seeking a government benefit, subsidy or service.

11:43 am:

11:40am: 

Justice Chandrachud said judicial review protects the spirit of the constitution and arbitrary conduct.

Justice Sikri has concluded the majority judgment, Justice Chandrachud has started reading his judgement.

11:37 am: 

11:35 am: 

11:33 am: Aadhaar not mandatory for mobile connections, DOT notification mandating this is unconstitutional. Justice Sikri said that the Aadhaar Act can be passed as the Money Bill.

11:32 am: Section 139 AA of Income Tax Act upheld. Aadhaar will be mandatory for filing income tax returns and applying for PAN.

11:31 am: Aadhaar cannot be mandated to open bank accounts. Mandatory linking of bank account with Aadhaar is unconstitutional as it does not satisfy the test of proportionality.

11:27 am: Section 57 has been struck down to the extent that “any purpose” means a purpose backed by law as far as state authorities are concerned and fully struck down for private entities.

11:25 am: Aadhaar cannot be mandated for school admissions as it is not a benefit under Section 7.

11:22 am:

Justice Sikri: Children can only be enrolled with parental consent and will have an option to exit once they turn 18. 

CBSE, NET, UGC, NEET cannot make Aadhaar mandatory.

11:21 am: Throwing out the entire Aadhaar Act 2016 would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Justice Sikri says that although exclusion is concerning, but inclusion is the purpose of the Act. Justice Sikri said guidelines have been provided to prevent and minimise exclusion.

11:18 am:  Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act 2016 has also been struck down. Private companies cannot insist on Aadhaar. (The section allows use of Aadhaar in the private sector)

11:15 am: The National Security Exception under Section 33 has been struck down.

11:12 a.m: Justice Sikri says the court has framed ten issues and goes on to elaborate on them. Justice Sikri says the Supreme Court is satisfied that there is sufficient defence mechanisms for authentication. He further says profiling is not possible with Aadhaar.

 

11:08 a.m: Justice Sikri just said this.


11:02 a.m.: Justice Sikri says the most important part of the challenge was the doctrine of proportionality and the right to privacy. He says the judgment discusses privacy case extensively and follows it.

10: 58 am: Justice Sikri says Aadhaar eliminates any chance of duplication, and further states that the enrolment process was foolproof. Aadhaar empowers the marginalised, according to Justice Sikri.

10:55 am: Justice Sikri says its better be unique than be the best.

10:49 a.m: The bench has assembled. The CJI and Justice Khanwilkar have concurred with Justice J.Sikri judgement.

10:45 a.m:

10:35 a.m: Former Attorney-General of India Mukul Rohatgi, who argued for the government in the case, told ANI that Aadhaar is relevant to plug loot & waste which has happened.

10:20 a.m: