Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government on Wednesday welcomed the verdict on Aadhaar by the Supreme Court. Terming the verdict as “historic”, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley pointed that the concept of Aadhaar has been accepted after a judicial review.
Addressing a press conference in the national capital, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader hit out at the critics of Aadhaar, saying those criticising the unique identification scheme need to understand that they “cannot defy technology”. He added that the “mainstream should accept changes, one can understand the fringe being against Aadhaar”.
Jaitley also dismissed the criticism by the Congress party, saying that the grand old party “cuts a very sorry figure here” as it introduced the idea of Aadhaar but “did not know what to do with it”.
Referring to the benefits of Aadhaar for the government, the Union Finance Minister said, “"We are saving Rs 90,000 crore every year by identifying the beneficiaries of the scheme.” Calling Aadhaar a tool of good governance, Jaitley said that “Aadhaar will continue to serve poor people”.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was also part of the press conference, said that the Supreme Court verdict “empowers democracy”. He added, “The Supreme Court verdict is the judgement of the moment.”
In the verdict, the apex court's five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, ruled that Aadhaar was not mandatory for banking, mobile phone services and admissions to educational institutions. Aadhaar will, however, be mandatory for host of government schemes.
The top court struck down Section 57 of Aadhaar Act permitting private entities to avail Aadhaar data and ruled that Aadhaar authentication data cannot be stored for more than six months. The bench also struck down the national security exception under the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act.