A fingerprint is scanned using biometric technology for registered travelers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (Photographer: Allen Brisson-Smith/Bloomberg)

Aadhaar A Monolith, A System With No Choices, Kapil Sibal Argues For Petitioners

With the Aadhaar biometric identification system, the government is creating “a monolith, a system with no choices”, argued Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal in the Supreme Court today.

The outcome of the Aadhaar hearing will have huge implications on the future of this country, said Sibal, the second lawyer to argue on behalf of petitioners challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar. He built his arguments on the grounds that choice is a fundamental element of the rights guaranteed under the Constitution and the concept of Aadhaar violates that.

Identity is a matter of proof but “when we want to state our identity, the State says we can do it only in one particular way”, Sibal argued further before the five-judge Constitution bench headed by the Chief Justice of India.

In the first half of the day, Senior Advocate Shyam Divan, who is also arguing on behalf of petitioners, summarised his arguments. Divan touched upon the concept of exclusion in the context of Aadhaar. The insistence on this biometric identity leads to the exclusion of certain people who would otherwise be entitled to receive their rights and benefits, he said.

About 6.23 crore enrollments have been rejected due to biometric duplication, Divan said in support of his statement, adding that many others have not been able to enroll themselves. This has led to exclusion, he argued.

In a digital world, personal autonomy extends to biometrics. The control over that has to rest with citizens and not the state, except in a few circumstances.
Shyam Divan, Senior Advocate

Sibal will continue his arguments tomorrow.