Update 21-04-2017: On 21-04-2017, the Supreme Court Of India asked Indian Govt how it can make Aadhaar mandatory when the Court has declared it to be optional. Thus, the Supreme Court has reiterated its position on Aadhaar that neither Central Govt nor State Govts can make Aadhaar mandatory till the Supreme Court decides the issue one way or other. Aadhaar is optional even on 21-04-2017 and would remain so even after this date as Supreme Court would never declare it legal due to its clear and apparent unconstitutional nature.
Previously on 27-03-2017, the Supreme Court reiterated the long affirmed position of Supreme Court that Aadhaar is optional for all
services whether welfare, non-welfare, government, private, etc. This is the correct legal position and legal interpretation even after the Aadhaar Act and Finance Bill have been passed as they have no legal bearing upon the Aadhaar writ petitions whatsoever.
Thus, the correct legal position and legal interpretation regarding Aadhaar till 21-04-2017 is that Aadhaar is absolutely optional for every possible service and activity that can exist on earth.
Aadhaar Project is a biometrics based identification system managed by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). As the UIDAI has been constituted through an “Executive Order” having no legal backing through a “Legislative Process”, its Constitutionality is in serious doubts. Some Public Interest Litigations (PILs) have also been filed before the Supreme Court of India to challenge the Constitutional Validity of Aadhaar Project/UIDAI. In one such case, the Supreme Court has issued interim directions (PDF) that the Central Government cannot make Aadhaar “Compulsory” for providing its services to Indian population. However, both Central Government and the States are persistent in making Aadhaar mandatory and they are openly asking for Aadhaar number while providing public services.
Supreme Court of India has recently asked the Central Government to clarify its stand on Aadhaar. The Central Government has clarified that it would continue with the Aadhaar Project. It has also assured the Supreme Court that Aadhaar card/number is not must for various Government services. Nevertheless, Central Government and States are continuing to make Aadhaar compulsory for various schemes and services.
For instance, the DigitalLocker Project of Central Government is tied up with Aadhaar and a person/institution that does not have Aadhaar cannot use the service. Essentially it means that Digital Locker is a legal project based upon illegal technology named Aadhaar. I have serious doubts that Digital Locker would serve its or Digital India’s purpose in these circumstances. Similarly, Aadhaar card had been made mandatory for Judges of Bombay High Court for obtaining their salaries. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also been made a party to the present cases for its insistence upon Aadhaar while opening bank accounts and for know-your-customer documents. Now Centre and States are discussing strategy to integrate Aadhaar with document registration.
This means that Central Government has lied before the Supreme Court regarding the nature and usage of Aadhaar. In truth, Central Government and States have made Aadhaar compulsory by direct and indirect means. I hope the Supreme Court would take note of this situation where Aadhaar is becoming the most Endemic E-Surveillance Tool in the hands of Indian Government. What makes it worst is that there is neither a “Legal Framework” not Parliamentary/Judicial Oversight over this E-Surveillance Project. It is high time for Supreme Court to intervene and declared Aadhaar Project Unconstitutional till it is free from all Illegalities, Infirmities and Unconstitutionalities.