The review petitions against the September 2018 verdict of the Supreme Court upholding the Aadhaar project are listed before a five judge bench tomorrow .
A Constitution Bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S Abdul Nazeer and BR Gavai will consider the petitions at 1.30pm in chamber.
Of the review bench, Justices Khanwilkar, Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan were part of the original bench which decided the case on September 26, 2018.
While Justice Khanwilkar and Bhushan were part of the majority, Justice Chandrachud was the lone dissenter in the 5 judge bench.
The majority, which comprised the then CJI Dipak Misra, Justices AK Sikri, Khanwilkar and Bhushan upheld the Aaadhar scheme but struck down and read down certain provisions of the Aadhaar Act 2016. The compulsory use of Aadhaar based KYC for mobile connections and bank accounts was prohibited by the SC.
The majority judgment authored by Justice Sikri also held that the architecture of Aadhaar, as well as the provisions of the Aadhaar Act, do not tend
to create a surveillance state. It was observed that this aspect is ensured by the manner in which the Aadhaar project operates. The judges also found that it is very difficult to create profile of a person simply on the basis of biometric and demographic information stored in CIDR. Insofar as authentication is concerned, there are sufficient safeguard mechanisms, the majority opined.
Justice Chandrachud, in his dissent, held the entire Aadhar Act to be unconstitutional. He also held that the passing of Aadhaar Act as a money bill was a fraud on a constitution.
Justice Chandrachud further observed it was worrying that a foreign company has the source code of the Aadhaar project and that there were valid concerns about the infringement of citizens privacy.
On November 13, 2019, In Rojer Mathew v South Indian Bank, a 5-judge bench of the SC doubted the correctness of the interpretation of the majority judgment in K S Puttaswamy v Union of India
which had held that Aadhaar Bill was in substance a Money Bill within the meaning of Article 110(1) of the Constitution.
The Rojer Mathew decision noted that the majority dictum in Aadhaar judgment did not substantially discuss the effect of the word 'only' in Article 110(1) and did not examine the repercussions of a finding when some of the provisions of an enactment passed as a "Money Bill" do not conform to Article 110(1) (a) to (g).
Observing so, the bench in Rojer Mathew referred the issue to a larger bench. In 2019, the Parliament passed the Aadhaar Amendment Act 2019 with the stated objective of rectifying
the infirmities in the Act which the Supreme Court pointed out. These amendments also allowed the 'voluntary' use of Aadhaar for mobile-sim authentication and Bank KYC purposes. The validity of these amendments have also been called in question before the supreme court.