New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought the central government’s response in a public interest litigation seeking a direction to government authorities including the Unique Identification Authority of India to “destroy" the Aadhaar-related information collected by them.

A bench headed by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and justice A.K. Sikri asked for the government’s stand on the issue.

Lawyer Gopal Subramanium, representing the petitioner Mathew George, told the court that it was the “responsibility of the state" to protect citizens from violations of their right to privacy. He argued that several private agencies involved in the data collection process had been found “guilty of fraudulent practices".

The writ petition, filed by George, a retired army officer, alleged that the security credentials of agencies collecting information from citizens were not thoroughly scrutinized. It further challenged the provision under the Citizenship Act, 1955, which empowers the Centre to issue national identity cards for being violative of the fundamental rights of the Constitution.

The petition also raised concerns regarding privacy of citizens. According to the petition, the fact that Aadhaar set out to create a universal database would lead to infringement upon “fundamental and core private rights" of citizens.

This is not the first challenge to Aadhaar, introduced by the United Progressive Alliance government. In September 2013, the apex court had directed that Aadhaar card could not be made mandatory for availing of benefits from schemes for social security and cooking gas subsidies.

The next hearing for the case is on 13 February.

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