Adopt doctor’s approach, try to save Aadhaar law: UIDAI

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Adopt doctor’s approach, try to save Aadhaar law: UIDAI NEW DELHI: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Tuesday urged the Supreme Court to test the constitutional validity of Aadhaar Act by adopting a doctor’s approach to make the best attempt to save the law rather than kill it.

Responding to a five-judge constitution bench’s query about data safety measures, UIDAI’s counsel Rakesh Dwivedi compared Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into effect from May 25, and said the Indian law was much more stringent in protection of data.

Dwivedi said, “The EU data protection regime allows a host of purposes for which core biometrics of individuals can be shared. Under the Aadhaar Act, core biometrics can never be shared by the UIDAI. Anyone sharing it will be committing an offence and will be punished. The Aadhaar Act makes data more secure, sharing punishable and prescribes specific purposes for which only demographic data, which is in public domain, is used for authentication.”

Presenting submissions before a bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, Dwivedi said the court, while examining validity of Aadhaar, must adopt a doctor’s approach and try to save the law as far as possible rather than guillotine it.

“The SC can provide more safety guidelines if it feels so but let Aadhaar work. While testing the requirement of safeguards, please keep in mind the context and purpose for which Aadhaar is being used,” he said.

“A fine infrastructure has been built for establishing identity of citizens for a host of purposes. The court can suggest additional safeguards for making it more secure. The UIDAI is open to suggestions and will do its best to implement it. Justice Srikrishna Commission is looking into the working of Aadhaar and it is a work under progress. So there is always scope for improvement,” Dwivedi said.

Justice Chandrachud said one area the UIDAI would do well to focus was on how to retrieve the situation in case of data leak or accidental sharing of data by requesting agencies for authentication purposes. Dwivedi said such lapses were taken care of by the Aadhaar Act.

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