In another twist into one of the most debated Aadhar card issue under the present government, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said a Parliament-approved legislation can restore the provision of mandatory linking of the biometric ID with mobile phones and bank accounts. However, he did not say if the government will bring a new law for the same.
Recently, the Supreme Court has upheld the Constitutional validity of Aadhaar but restricted its use by private entities like telecom operators for verification of mobile phone user. Aadhar is the 12-digit biometric based unique identity number.
Jaitley said the verdict was a “very sound judgment” as the court accepted that there is legitimate state aim in Aadhaar. He said in a recent media leadership summit, “Aadhaar is not a citizenship card. Because after all you have a system where you give a lot of government money in form of various support and subsidies to all kinds of people. That was the principle objective of Aadhaar.”
The Supreme Court has upheld most of what Aadhaar does, the minister said. However, the finance minister said that a legal provision through legislation can restore linking of Aadhaar with mobile phones and bank accounts. Jaitley said the Supreme Court has permitted Aadhaar linkage in several areas like income tax, based on “the principle of proportionality”.
“By law it can still be done, provided you do it under the adequate provision of law and do it on the basis of that in this field it is necessary.If you are able to show the kind of data that in mobile telephony it [Aadhaar linkage] will help, it can happen. So, mobile and bank accounts are two critical areas,” he said.
In its landmark judgement, the Supreme Court declared constitutional the government’s extraordinary attempt to give every resident a biometric ID. However, it drew a clear line between two kinds of use for biometric authentication – its use for state-provided services like payment of subsidies and taxation records was declared acceptable but restricted its use as authentication tool by telecom companies and banks.