Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Telecom minister Manoj Sinha told reporters that Department of Telecom (DoT) has studied the Supreme Court verdict on Aadhaar and soon it’ll be out with a decision following guidelines that complies court ruling along with protecting consumers.
“Government will fully respect the SC order and, within the legal purview, the government will also take care of consumers,” Sinha told reporters (via ETtelecom).
A couple of weeks back, a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court led by CJI Dipak Misra delivered judgment on the validity of Aadhaar with some modifications. The court reversed government’s ruling of mandatory to link Aadhaar with mobile number, bank account and more. As many as 31 petitions were challenged on the grounds that Aadhaar violated the right to privacy of citizens. However, it is still mandatory to link Aadhaar with PAN card, and for filing income tax returns.
Justice Chandrachud had said that Aadhaar carries a risk of surveillance of people based on the data that is collected and it can be misused. “Aadhaar numbers shall be deleted forthwith by the telecom companies,” he said.
Aadhaar according to court ruling also violates privacy rights as it can lead to profiling of voters and individuals. For telecom operators and other private entities the Supreme Court barred Aadhaar’s 12-digit unique code to digitally authenticate subscriber. Telecom operators have already said they are awaiting directions from the DoT, and after Sinha’s statement, it seems the directions will soon be announced.
According to the numbers shared by ET, there are over 800 million mobile phone subscribers in India. There are 970 million bank accounts out of which around 610 million have already linked Aadhaar.