ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Legal Vacuum

The Supreme Court has failed to protect citizens from government illegality on Aadhaar.

The Supreme Court’s interim order of 11 August 2015 in Justice (Retd) K S Puttaswamy vs Union of India (Writ Petition (Civil) 494 of 2012), referring the question of the width of the right to privacy in India to a Constitution Bench and issuing directions on the “use” of the Unique Identification Number (“Aadhaar number”), is a travesty. Three years after the first legal challenges were filed against the Aadhaar number, we are no wiser as to the legality of a scheme which is not based on law made by Parliament and against which serious allegations of breach of privacy are being levelled.

A government agency acting in a legal vacuum is the antithesis of the rule of law. Citizens must know their legal rights and duties, the procedures to be followed, and the remedies they can avail of against any wrongful action of such agencies. In the context of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), this most basic tenet of the rule of law has been abandoned by successive governments.

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