From the past few months, everyone seems to be rushing to link their mobile numbers with their Aadhaar Card number but apparently, the Supreme Court never made the order mandatory. While hearing a clutch of petitions challenging Aadhaar, the five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that the government misinterpreted its observation on Feb 6, 2017.
The apex court said that in the Lokniti Foundation Case, it hadn’t directed to link SIM with UID. The order was given on February 6, 2017, merely recorded that the Aadhaar was one of the documents used for verification of subscribers’ identity.
The court clarified that back in February 2017 it recorded the then Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s submission about an effective program for the verification of subscribers and that the process will be completed within one year.
Notably, the Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, who appeared for UIDAI, agreed and said that the government seems to have taken the observation rather seriously for the verification of mobile phone subscribers. He also argued that the one-time linkage will not hamper the privacy of the users as the UIDAI is not maintaining any call records.
Dwivedi also said that the direction was taken in pursuance of TRAI’s recommendation and submitted that the government had a legal basis to link Aadhaar with SIM under Sec 4 of the Telegraph Act. He further argued that Aadhaar scheme is being unnecessarily targeted while nobody is questioning the telecom and banking sector for the collection of information.
He also cited examples of Vodafone, Google, and Facebook that gather much more information about the users as compared to Aadhaar. He concluded his argument by saying that there is no chance of data breach by Aadhaar.
Earlier on March 13, the Supreme Court had indefinitely extended the deadline for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile numbers. It had asked the government to wait until the bench decides the validity of the Aadhaar cards. However, it had agreed to extend the deadline for linking bank accounts with Aadhaar until March 31.