'Aadhaar may cause death of citizens' civil rights': Lawyer for petitioners tells Supreme Court

A five-judge constitution bench -- headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and including Justices AM Khanwilkar, Adarsh Kumar Sikri, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan -- began hearing a bunch of petitions against the Aadhaar scheme Wednesday.  Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 17, 2018, 10.05 AM (IST)

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Shyam Divan, appearing for the petitioners in the Aadhaar hearing, told a five-judge Constitution bench Wednesday that "Aadhaar may cause death of citizens' civil rights". 

"A people's Constitution is being sought to be converted into a State's Constitution,"  he added. 

The five-judge constitution bench -- headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and including Justices AM Khanwilkar, Adarsh Kumar Sikri, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan -- began hearing a bunch of petitions against Aadhaar Wednesday. 

The petitions question the constitutional validity of linking citizens' Aadhaar cards to government welfare schemes, and the validity of the Aadhaar scheme itself which aims to issue every Indian citizen a unique identification number. There have been a number of reports recently of people starving to death because they did not have Aadhaar cards and were therefore not given government rations at PDS (Public Distribution System) shops. 

The validity of Aadhaar and the possible leakage of citizens' data collected under the scheme has cropped up time and again. There was also a newspaper report recently of Aadhaar data being sold for as little as Rs 500. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had filed an FIR against the reporter who had filed that story, as well as against her newspaper. 

The Supreme Court has also received petitions questioning the linkage of the 12-digit number to mobile phones, bank accounts, and so forth, the last date for which was recently extended to March 31 this year.

If the phones, bank accounts etc are not linked to Aadhaar numbers by then, they will be deactivated.