Aadhaar can't stop bank fraud, officials are hand-in-glove with fraudsters: SC to Centre

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra is examining a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and its enabling 2016 law.

Aadhaar can't stop bank fraud, officials are hand-in-glove with fraudsters: SC to Centre

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday observed that Aadhaar cannot stop bank frauds. The apex court also said that it seems that bank officials are hand in glove with fraudsters. "Aadhaar can do little to stop it," the court observed.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra is examining a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and its enabling 2016 law. During the arguments, the Centre had on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the Aadhaar scheme has been approved by experts and was not open to judicial review as it was a policy decision. 

Attorney General KK Venugopal referred to various reports including that of World Bank and said that they acknowledged that India has taken a step to give an identity to the "poorest of poor", which would finally help in achieving the task of financial inclusion of all.

He had stated that Aadhaar has helped in curbing the leakages in the disbursal of benefits under welfare schemes. "The legitimate State interest runs through the entire Aadhaar Act and it has helped in the dissipation of subsidies, prevention of black money and money laundering by linking it with bank accounts," he said.

When the bench questioned Centre over the opposition that the Aadhaar is facing, the top law officer had on Wednesday claimed that Aadhaar scheme satisfies the test of proportionality by showing a rational nexus between the means and the goal. He also added that the State has a legitimate state interest in rolling out Aadhaar.

Raising questions on what if the authorities seek more biometric details for Aadhaar, the court said that "biological attributes" are open ended. The bench said the authorities may expand and include some more biometric features in the Aadhaar scheme in future which can amount to "excessive delegation of powers" by Parliament.

However, Venugopal said blood, urine, DNA may be added, but that will be subject to examination by the courts, just like right now the court is examining whether collection of fingerprints and Iris scans are a violation of privacy.

He referred to several judgements of the American Supreme Court which have upheld the fingerprint imaging for social security card. However, the bench observed that the position taken by the European courts including by the German court was diametrically different to the position taken by US courts. "Would it be better not to refer to foreign court judgements as they may cause confusion," the bench asked.

(With PTI inputs)

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