Aadhaar and the Right to Privacy

In September 2018, the Supreme Court of India upheld the overall validity of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 (the “Aadhaar Act”) dismissed apprehension that the Aadhaar scheme violates citizens’ Right to Privacy. 

The Aadhaar Act entitles resident individuals to obtain an Aadhaar number by submitting certain biometric information and demographic information as part of the enrolment process. It also seeks to secure the poor and deprived persons an opportunity to live their life and exercise liberty.

In this article, we shall discuss in detail the Aadhaar and the Right to Privacy. It is also an important topic for candidates preparing for the upcoming IAS Exam and questions based on the same may be asked in the final Civil services examination.

Kickstart your IAS Exam preparation now and complement your preparation with the links given below:

Aadhaar and Right To Privacy – Key Points

  • An Aadhaar is a unique 12-digit identification number issued to the citizens of the country by the Government of India as identification proof. Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is the issuing and managing bogy for Aadhaar cards in the country.
  • There have been a lot of controversies about the privacy-related issues with Aadhaar as in view of maintaining the data online, the privacy of citizens cannot be avoided. The linking of Aadhaar cards to bank accounts, UPI applications, etc. has raised many questions in terms of the Right to Privacy of a citizen.
  • The Supreme Court has said the Aadhaar metadata cannot be stored for more than six months. The Aadhaar Act had a provision to store allowed storage of such data for a period of five years. The Supreme Court has read down Section 2(d) of the Aadhaar Act to refrain government authorities to store Aadhaar metadata of transactions. The Court also said that the Centre must bring a robust data protection law urgently.
  • Some sections of the Aadhaar Act were struck down. This includes the part of section 57 which allowed providing private corporations to verify Aadhaar data. It was held unconstitutional.
  • However, as per the judgement of the Supreme Court on September 26, 2018, it said, that Aadhaar is meant to help the benefits reach the marginalised sections of society and takes into account the dignity of people not only from a personal but also community point of view. However, disapproved mandatory linking to a few other sectors and spheres.

Also, read about the Important Supreme Court Judgements from the UPSC examination point of view at the linked article.

Concerns with the Right To Privacy and Aadhaar

With the increasing cyber acts and illegal leaking of data and information online, one of the biggest concerns faced by the people was the Right to Privacy which is a fundamental right for all the citizens of the country.  Thus, the Government passed the Data Protection Bill in December 2018 which was based on the judgement passed by the Supreme Court in terms of the Right to Privacy.

The government should recognise all dimensions of the right to privacy and address concerns about data safety, protection from unauthorised interception, surveillance, use of personal identifiers and bodily privacy.

If necessary measures are taken by the Government as suggested by the Supreme Court of the country, the privacy of the citizens shall stay intact and with minimum data and biometrics, the right to privacy of citizens shall be maintained evidently.

IAS aspirants can get the detailed UPSC Syllabus for the prelims and mains exam at the linked article.

For the latest exam updates, study material and preparation tips, visit BYJU’S for expert assistance.

Other Related Links
Privacy and India [UPSC Notes for GS I] Fundamental Rights – Articles 12-35
Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 Important Amendments in the Indian Constitution 
Important Acts in India Writs in India
List of High Courts in India Powers and Functions of the High Court
Indian Judiciary Overview of the Constitution


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