The Centre told the Delhi High Court on Tuesday that a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Ordinance “does not survive” as Parliament has passed the Aadhaar Amendment Bill for voluntary use of the biometric ID in private sector.
The Centre made the submission before a Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar which was hearing a plea challenging the Ordinance on the ground that it was brought to “overturn” the Supreme Court decision regarding the use of Aadhaar by private sector.
President Ram Nath Kovind had in March given his assent to the Aadhaar Ordinance that allowed voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof for obtaining mobile SIM cards and opening bank accounts.
Subsequently, on June 24, the government introduced the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to replace the Ordinance. On July 4, the Lok Sabha passed the bill and on July 8 the Rajya Sabha passed it by a voice vote.
The High Court has listed the case for further hearing on October 22.
A five-judge Constitution Bench of the apex court had in September last year declared the Centre’s flagship Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid but struck down some of its provisions, including its linking with bank accounts, mobile phones and school admissions.
According to the petitioners, Reepak Kansal and Yadunandan Bansal, the Ordinance allowed private sector to use the Aadhaar infrastructure through the back door by amending the Indian Telegraph Act.
The petition has said that the Ordinance amends the Telegraph Act to provide for voluntary use of Aadhaar for identity verification.