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Indian Supreme Court considers new review of Aadhaar national biometric scheme’s legality

Indian Supreme Court considers new review of Aadhaar national biometric scheme’s legality

The Supreme Court of India will consider requests for a review of its previous decision that the country’s biometric national identification scheme Aadhaar is constitutionally valid, at least for certain uses, after petitioners targeted the manner of the legislation’s passage.

Outlook reports that a series of requests to review the 2018 ruling will be considered, starting on June 9.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Aadhaar Act does not violate India’s Constitution, except for a passage on private sector use, which forced the government back to the drawing-board for ways to implement the identity system for voluntary checks to open bank accounts, register mobile phone accounts, and other non-state aid purposes.

That ruling is now being challenged on grounds that it did not address the incorrect certification of the Aadhaar Act as a Money Bill by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, which avoided a vote on the Act in the Rajya Sabha, or upper parliamentary house. A pair of recent verdicts by the top court have referred questions about the legitimacy of legislative processes and a court decision to appeals courts for further consideration. In a dissenting opinion to the Supreme Court ruling, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud noted that the Act should not have been passed as a Money Bill, and could still be struck down.

“It is submitted that Aadhaar failed to meet the strict standard laid out in Article 110 (1). For a legislation that has serious implications on the rights of citizens to be passed without consideration of Rajya Sabha is nothing but a fraud on the Constitution, as the minority judgement notes,” a written submission filed by advocate Vipin Nair argues.

The practical application of Aadhaar rules, both for government aid disbursement and private sector use, continues to be ironed out, meanwhile.

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