New Delhi, Sep 26: Welcoming the Supreme Court verdict on Aadhaar, Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Wednesday said that the decision to strike down the Modi governments “surveillance tool” will put an end to the government’s “abuse of power”.
Speaking on the privacy breach due to the involvement of private companies in Aadhaar scheme, he stated by striking down Section 57 of Aadhaar Act, Supreme Court put an end to mass surveillance exercise being carried out under the guise of Aadhaar by the Central Government and the “grotesque distortion of an idea conceived by the UPA”.
“Had the government not been arrogant and allowed the democratic process to work, none of this would have happened. If they heard us back then, then crores of people’s biodata is now in private hands, could have been saved. This was not the Aadhaar Act this was ‘Sarkari Adhikar Act’, “.
“This is immeasurable harm done to the polity and democracy in the country”, he added.
He said Aadhaar can no longer be made mandatory for mobile phones and bank accounts.
The Congress leader added that an important part of the judgment was that if in future a Lok Sabha speaker declares a bill as Money Bill, then Court can review this and revert. We will approach a 7-judge bench to consider this verdict again as this is clearly not a Money Bill.
Sibal said while four judges of the Supreme Court upheld the classification of the Aadhaar Act as a money bill, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud dissented calling it a “debasement of the democratic structure” which renders the Act an “illegality”.
Justice Chandrachud has also observed that passage of bills in such a manner by the Centre is a way of undermining the role of parliament and parliamentarians, he said.
The former Union Ministere further stated that the Congress will not accept any attempt by the government to bring an amendment to the Act through the money bill route and would challenge it in court.
“However, the passage of the law violates both the fundamental right to privacy and is a gross abuse of the Money Bill route”.
The Supreme Court today upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar card with several conditions by 4:1 majority.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra ruled that Aadhaar will not be required for opening bank accounts, admissions in schools or for getting mobile phone connections.
While Justice Chandrachud said the Aadhaar Act cannot be treated as a money bill and passing it as one will be a fraud on the Constitution.