Aadhaar case: UIDAI CEO to make presentation before Supreme Court

Faith Castro
March 24, 2018

Ajay Pandey, the CEO of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), will make a presentation on Aadhaar before a Supreme Court bench at 2.30 p.m. on Thursday.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, who started the arguments for the Centre, said the CEO would answer queries of the bench on all issues like surveillance, data security and exclusion and sought the nod for it tomorrow.

At the time of authentication, the objective for which it is done, the location or other details of transaction are not collected, said Pandey.

Even those who did not have biometrics due to old age, or other physical infirmities could have an Aadhaar card and their authentication would be done on the basis of their photographs and their mobile number which can be verified with an OTP, he said.

"We have tied up with hospitals so that infants can be handed over Aadhaar cards on the spot", he said.

He said that all doubts and fears will be cleared after the PPT was presented. "We segregate the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) so the software doesn't know whose biometrics it is".

He said that for the first time Aadhaar offered the billion plus population of India a "robust, lifetime, nationally online, verifiable identity".

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But Justice A.K. Sikri questioned Mr. Pandey's narrative about the infallibility of Aadhaar, asking why then did the UIDAI blacklist 49,000 registered operators.

Appearing for Swatantra, advocate Jayana Kothari told the court that agencies collecting demography information for Aadhaar could not insist on the disclosure of gender identity as it is covered under privacy.

He said that before bringing the law, serious attempts were made to plug the corruption and pilferages in the disbursal of benefits under welfare schemes. "But it matched", UIDAI chief said. This is not because of Aadhaar, which can not solve every problem. Justice AK Siri asked Attorney General KK Venugopal. He accepted that there have been certain unfortunate incidents where people have died after they were denied benefits they were entitled to.

Similarly, identities are important for the bottom 40 per cent of the population to have better access to job opportunities.

Aadhaar was launched by the UPA in 2009-10 to reduce the government's subsidy bill and improve the delivery of services.

Venugopal said Aadhaar has effectively taken care of the issue of ghost beneficiaries of welfare schemes, besides fake cards for ration, BPL quota and PAN. The power point presentation will continue on March 27.

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