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Aadhaar can not be made any less intrusive, AG Venugopal tells Supreme Court

Aadhaar can not be made any less intrusive, AG Venugopal tells Supreme Court

The Centre on Tuesday referred to the verdict and said the reasonable restrictions, which are applicable on right to life, would also govern the right to privacy.

"The Aadhaar Act is a valid piece of law".

The bench, also comprising Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan, was told that in the situation where both iris scan and finger prints can't be used for authentication, the mobile number is one of the methods used.

He added that if there is judicial review of every action by the government, the development will slow down.

Pointing out that tremendous efforts were put in to ensure that Aadhaar invades or impinges the privacy to the "minimum possible manner", he said: "We have structured the law so that it satisfies the three requirements of the validity of a law - that it is fair, just and reasonable".

The bench asked Venugopal that the people, opposed to the scheme, say that it violated the doctrine of proportionality.

The State has a legitimate state interest in rolling out Aadhaar, he said.

In the beta form, users can generate their Virtual ID and use it to update address in Aadhaar online for the time being, according to UIDAI which announced the Virtual ID concept earlier this year to address privacy concerns.

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On the issue of 16-digit virtual Aadhaar ID, Venugopal said that it is an excellent safety measure.

As Venugopal replied in affirmative, the bench asked as to whether 1. However, in case of a social benefits scheme, the State could collate data of its citizens provided there is a legitimate state interest, it added.

The UIDAI said that linking of Aadhaar to bank accounts would help weed out accounts being operated by fraudsters, criminals and money launderers. In this context, he cited the larger interests involved which included delivery of subsidies and services, plugging leakages in the system, checking money laundering and black money, etc.

Would it be better not to refer to foreign court judgements as they may cause confusion, the bench asked.

The advancing of arguments remained inconclusive and would continue on Thursday.

Aadhaar can not be made any less intrusive than what it is now, the government told the Supreme Court on Tuesday, even as it urged the court to uphold the unique identity programme in its current form on the ground that it was a reasonable restriction on a person's fundamental right to privacy.

The move comes at a time when the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the Aadhaar Act and the use of biometric identifier in various government and non-government services. The lawyers for the petitioners had given a list of queries to the UIDAI CEO after he had concluded his PowerPoint Presentation (PPT) to allay apprehensions with regard the Aadhaar scheme.