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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 42 New Delhi October 6, 2018

Aadhaar Verdict: Justice Chandrachud’s “Landmark Dissent”

Sunday 7 October 2018

by Arup Sen

The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court delivered its Aadhaar verdict on September 26, 2018. Reportedly, while the four judges out of a five-justice Bench broadly upheld the Aadhaar project and its constitutional validity, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud categorically recorded his voice of dissent. He observed: “The passing of Aadhaar Act as money bill is a fraud on the Constitution.” He further observed: “Constitutional guarantees cannot be compromised by vicissitudes of technology.” While commenting on Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, which makes the biometric authentication programme mandatory for obtaining state subsidies, Justice Chandrachud stated: “Mandating Aadhaar for benefits and services under Section 7 would lead to a situation in which citizens will not be able to live without Aadhaar.” He warned that allowing private players to use Aadhaar will lead to individual profiling, which could be used to ascertain the political views of citizens. He further warned that if Aadhaar is seeded with every database, then there is chance of infringement of right to privacy.

In expressing his “landmark dissent” from the majority, Justice Chandrachud “has held the entire Aadhaar project to be unconstitutional”.

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