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September 15, 2015

Why Supreme Court judgment on Aadhaar calls for an appeal

Courtesy: Indian Express


In this Indian Express column, Nandan Nilekani argues that the Supreme Court verdict on Aaadhar must be challenged on the grounds of individual choice and the freedom of the executive to frame policy.


He says " .....two of the four SC directives are unfair. The first two — wide publicity of Aadhaar being non-mandatory and ensuring that no benefits due to any citizen are denied without an Aadhaar card — are useful. But the last two — no use of Aadhaar cards or its information for anything other than PDS ration shops and LPG cylinders — must be appealed...."


"The Aadhaar system ensures privacy by design — it uses a federated architecture, that is, banking data is wholly inside the banking system, healthcare data wholly in the healthcare system, etc. Moreover, a person can elect to “lock” her own Aadhaar number, so no authentication or eKYC is ever done without her “unlocking” it. Biometric data is never shared by the UIDAI under any circumstances"


"On what basis did the court choose the use of Aadhaar for gas cylinders over other subsidies? Why allow ration shops to use Aadhaar for authentication and eKYC to “open” a ration account, but stay silent on Aadhaar’s eKYC to getting a bank account or a SIM card? Why be silent on the use of Aadhaar authentication and eKYC for other social and economic interventions like biometric attendance, the Jan Dhan Yojana, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, eSign (digital signatures) and new payments banks?......Why deny the Indian state the use of Aadhaar for efficient and effective subsidy-targeting and providing conveniences to its people, as long as the use of Aadhaar is voluntary?"

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