After the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Aadhaar case, the apex body struck down the governments rule to mandatory link mobile numbers to Aadhar but Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely on Saturday said that it was still possible to link mobiles to Aadhaar and to allow private sector to use the unique identity, provided there was statutory backing to it and the test of proportionality could be justified.
Jaitely was speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here, he said that Supreme Court upheld “most of what Aadhaar does”. He added, ““What has not been upheld falls in two categories. Bulk of that has been struck down on two principles — one is the principle of proportionality, that Aadhaar will help in these cases, please weigh the pros and cons and then do it by an appropriate law. So this whole argument which was being given, that private companies can’t use it… For instance, there is a Section 57 which says you can authorise others either ‘by law’ or ‘by contract’. So, what has been struck down is ‘by contract’. By law it can still be done, provided you do it under adequate provision of law and you do it on the basis that, in this field, it is necessary.”
When Jaitely was asked if Aadhaar would be extended for linking bank accounts and mobile phones, he said, ““I don’t know, but in several areas, for instance income tax, they (the Supreme Court) permitted it. Because they said on the principle of proportionality, income tax you do it by law. The Act has already been amended. And since there was largescale violation, it was permitted. So if you are able to show the kind of data that, in mobile telephony, it will help, it can happen… So these are the two critical areas, one is bank accounts, the other is mobile telephony. So you will then have to decide where it can’t be done and where on basis of intrinsic data available, you can say that proportionality then demands that it can be done.”