Aadhaar verdict: Endorsement of our vision, says Congress

‘Bid to create surveillance tool foiled’

September 26, 2018 09:35 pm | Updated 09:35 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi

Welcoming the Supreme Court judgment on Aadhaar , Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday thanked the top court for “supporting” the Congress’s vision of empowerment, and accused the BJP of making Aadhaar “a tool of oppression and surveillance”.

The Congress, however, made it clear that it would move a larger Bench of the Supreme Court if the Union government tried to bring in any future amendments to the Aadhaar Act as a Money Bill to bypass the Rajya Sabha, where the NDA does not enjoy a comfortable majority.

In a statement, the party said that for the first time, a Constitution Bench had held that “decisions of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha can be subject to judicial review”.

“For Congress, Aadhaar was an instrument of empowerment. For the BJP, Aadhaar is a tool of oppression and surveillance. Thank you Supreme Court for supporting the Congress vision,” Mr. Gandhi tweeted using the hashtag Aadhaarverdict.

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram echoed his party president when he alleged, in a series of tweets, that the NDA had converted the unique identity scheme into a “monster”.

“The majority judgment in the Aadhaar case has retrieved the UPA’s original idea of Aadhaar. Aadhaar was meant to be a benign instrument to deliver benefits, subsidies and services to the poor. Glad that the UPA’s policy has been vindicated. The NDA tried to convert Aadhaar into a monster that will rule every aspect of a person’s life. And the NDA had been firmly rebuffed,” Mr. Chidambaram said.

“The Act came perilously close to being struck down on the ground that it was passed as a Money Bill when it was not. The Act was saved by judicial forbearance. The dissenting judgment of Justice Chandrachud has many valuable lessons for all governments, especially the imperious NDA government. They would do well to heed those lessons,” he said.

Right to privacy

At the party’s official briefing, former Law Minister Kapil Sibal maintained that the top court had now protected an individual’s right to privacy by striking down Section 57 of the Act that allowed private companies to demand Aadhaar.

But he said the Act has “already done immeasurable harm to the people by allowing biometric data to be collected.”

But on the issue of the majority judgment upholding the Aadhaar Act as a Money Bill, Mr. Sibal said the party agreed with the dissenting view of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud. “If on the ground that this is not a Money Bill this [Aadhaar Act] had been struck down, the marginalised would have lost their rights to get their benefits. Whereas we agree with the minority judgment that this is not a Money Bill...Justice Chandrachud has said it’s a fraud on the Constitution,” Mr. Sibal said.

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