Jaitley says companies may be allowed use of Aadhaar by law

New Delhi: Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday indicated that the Supreme Court judgment on Aadhaar last month allowed scope for private entities like banks and mobile telephone companies to use the biometric identification number by way of a new legislation. It, however, has to be shown that such a step meets the principle of proportionality—that it is not more necessary than to meet the policy objective sought.

Jaitley says companies may be allowed use of Aadhaar by law

Addressing the 16th Hindustan Times leadership summit here, the finance minister said what the apex court had struck down was a part of the controversial Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, which allowed Aadhaar’s use by corporate bodies by way of a contract.

“Most of what Aaadhar does has been upheld by the court. What has not been upheld falls in two categories. The bulk of that has been struck down on two principles. One is the principle of proportionality,” said the minister.

The section the minister referred to says that the Aadhaar number may be used for establishing the identity of an individual either by the state or any body corporate or person by way of any law or any contract. “What has been struck down is (the part referring to its use) by contract. By law, it (use of Aadhaar by a corporate body) can still be done, provided you do it under adequate provision of law, saying that in this field it may be necessary,” said the minister.

The Supreme Court last month had upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, albeit with riders.

Jaitley described the majority view of the Supreme Court on Aadhaar as a sound judgment. “Aadhaar is not a citizenship card. That is why it is a Money bill. It is used for distribution of monetary resources by the state. Last year, we saved Rs 90,000 crore (by use of Aadhaar in giving subsidies). It is four-five times the amount needed for Ayushman Bharat (a mega-health insurance scheme). I think the privacy concern was a bit overstated,” said Jaitley.


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