Day 18 Arguments: 15th March 2018

On 15.03.2018, Mr.Viswanathan resumed his argument that the Aadhaar Act and its provisions are disproportional as the Act did not balance individual rights and policy goals. He concluded by pressing for an extension of the deadline for Aadhaar linking for subsidies under Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act.

 

Next, Mr Anand Grover, representing petitioner Mathew Thomas, began his arguments. His first submission was that there are 'vast swathes' of the Aadhaar project which are not even regulated by the Aadhaar Act. He referred to the State Resident Data Hubs (SRDH) which operated solely on the basis of MOUs between UIDAI and the State governments before Aadhaar Act was passed. He rejected the Union’s suggestion that SRDH biometrics had been destroyed. He said that data destruction was a complex process and data could not be simply deleted. He further argued that the ambit of Section 57 has been deliberately kept wide so corporations could build consumer profiles by seeding databases with Aadhaar. Mr. Grover referred to regulations that allowed the storage of metadata during authentication. He submitted that owing to the inherently personal nature of the data the State did not have the right to collect such data unless it could guarantee absolute data protection. Mr Grover concluded saying the Aadhaar project was larger than the Aadhaar Act and the UIDAI was undertaking wide-scale collection and storage of data in contravention of the Act.

 

Thereafter, Ms Meenakshi Arora began her arguments by listing her key themes – surveillance, dignity, and proportionality test and its relation to fundamental rights. With respect to surveillance, she cited the Marper case to emphasise that even inclination toward surveillance could have a chilling effect on fundamental rights. She referred to the ECHR case of Vissy v Hungary to argue that Aadhaar caused such alarm due to its capability of 360-degree surveillance.

 

Ms Meenakshi Arora will continue with her submissions on 20.03.2018, followed by Mr. Sajjan Poovayya.