The Centre told the Supreme Court that curbing terrorism, money laundering, black money and delivery of subsidies are 'legitimate state interests' in rolling out the Aadhaar scheme
New Delhi: Attorney general K.K. Venugopal on Wednesday listed curbing terrorism, money laundering, black money and delivery of subsidies and benefits as “legitimate state interests" in rolling out the Aadhaar scheme and the collection of biometrics under it.
“The state has a vital interest in collection of fingerprints. They serve as a simple form of identification and cannot be used for surveillance by the state." Venugopal submitted before the constitution bench of the Supreme Court hearing the matter.
He reiterated that it was in line with the court’s ruling holding privacy to be a fundamental right under the Constitution and was safe and secure.
It was also the AG’s submission that policy decisions of the government should not be subject to judicial review.
“Development will slow down if there’s judicial review of every administrative action. Courts should not interfere in matters of technical expertise. The duty of the court is to expound the language of the act. They cannot decide if a particular policy decision is fair," Venugopal remarked.
To this, Justice Ashok Bhushan said that the court was not looking at policy decisions, but at the Aadhaar Act and regulations.
The Centre also claimed that Aadhaar stood clear on the “test of proportionality" as all alternative measures had been considered before it was adopted.
On 3 April, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had told the court that authentication rate failure at the national level under Aadhaar stood at 8.54% in cases of iris scans and 6% in those concerning fingerprint scans.
It was, however, clarified that an authentication failure did not mean exclusion or denial of subsidies, benefits or services.
In its presentation on security concerns surrounding Aadhaar, UIDAI’s chief operating officer, Ajay Bhushan Pandey claimed that there had not been a single breach of biometric data from UIDAI’s end and that it had in place a robust system of security for Aadhaar data.
The case will continue to be heard on Thursday.
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