State cannot sit in judgement on identity of citizens, Supreme Court told

The State cannot sit in judgement and rely only on biometric details to establish the identity of its citizens, a former High Court Judge who has challenged the Aadhaar scheme, told the Supreme Court today.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra is hearing a clutch of petitions including one filed by former High Court judge Justice K S Puttaswamy challenging the constitutional validity of the Centre’s flagship Aadhaar scheme and its enabling 2016 Act.

Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the former judge, said the State cannot sit in “judgement” and rely on some numbers and biometric details of a person to establish his or her constitutional identity.

“Virtual person cannot reduce the real personhood,” the senior lawyer told the bench which also comprised Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.

Terming the Aadhaar Act as “unconstitutional”, he said it has been held in several judgements that the individual’s rights always gets primacy over the rights of the State and moreover, the action of the government is needed to be tested “for substantive and procedural due process”.

The senior lawyer maintained that the government says that Aadhaar scheme was put in place for furthering “social good”, but the “remedies are worse than the maladies”. The right to equality, right to personal liberty and freedom of speech and expression are being violated by the Aadhaar scheme, he said.

As carried in ET

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