Aadhaar law is just, fair & reasonable: Centre to SC
New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday justified the Aadhaar Act in the Supreme Court, saying it was a "fair and reasonable law" which complied with the tests prescribed by the historic verdict on the right to privacy.
A nine-judge constitution bench, on August 24 last year, had declared the right to privacy as a fundamental right and termed it as an intrinsic part of right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. The Centre on Tuesday referred to the verdict and said the reasonable restrictions, which are applicable on right to life, would also govern the right to privacy.
It told a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which is examining the validity of Aadhaar scheme and its enabling 2016 law, that the privacy verdict provided that State can seek certain information if there is a law, a legitimate state interest and the proportionality doctrine to weigh citizens' privacy and the State's interests.
"The lead (privacy) judgment of Justice D Y Chandrachud says that existence of law, legitimate state interest, and proportionality, are the tests to be applied to judge the privacy violation, if any," Attorney General K K Venugopal told the bench which also comprised Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.
"The Aadhaar Act meets the standards and has adequate safeguards. The Aadhaar Act is a just, fair, and reasonable law. It is in pursuance of a larger public interest, including preventing dissipation of social welfare benefits, prevention of black money and money laundering...," he said, adding that these were all "legitimate State interests".
The Aadhaar scheme also satisfies the test of proportionality by showing a rational nexus between the means and the goal, he said, adding that all subsidies were part of right to life with dignity and would prevail over the right to privacy.
Venugopal said a law, which is constitutionally valid, does not become "invalid" on the ground of improper implementation and, moreover, the Aadhaar Act has kept the invasion to privacy, if any, to the minimum level.
Referring to separate concurring privacy verdicts penned by other judges, the Attorney General said they recognised that right to privacy was not "absolute" and legitimate state interests can override it.