19:41 GMT +322 October 2018
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    India's Apex Court's Validates World's Largest Biometric Identity Project

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    'Aadhaar' - the world's largest biometric identity project, is a 12-digit unique identification number that can be obtained by residents of India, based on their biometric and demographic data. The data is collected by a government statutory body, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

    New Delhi (Sputnik): In a significant development, India's Apex court has validated the constitutionality of the of the Aadhar scheme, which assigns a unique numerical identity to every Indian citizen by capturing their biometric details.

    READ MORE: Snowden Defends Indian Journo Facing Prosecution for Exposing Aadhar Data Breach

    While upholding the constitutional validity of Adhaar, the Supreme Court of India on Wednesday ruled that the Aadhaar Act, the law envisaging the provision for a biometric identity for every Indian, doesn't violate the right to privacy or breach of personal data. The ruling today barred private entities from using the data, but made it mandatory for income tax return filing. 

    The government of India welcomed the decision of the court, with the finance minister of Arun Jaitley saying that the use of Aadhaar has helped the government save a substantial amount of money through targeting of beneficiaries and plugging leakages in welfare schemes.

    A five-member constitution bench of the Supreme Court of India, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, has, however, ruled that the Aadhaar number is not mandatory for opening a bank account, subscription of telecom services or during enrolment in schools. Aadhaar cards will continue to be mandatory for availing facilities of welfare schemes and government subsidies "as it empowers the poor and marginalized."

    READ MORE: Girl's Starvation Death Sparks Controversy Over India’s Compulsory ID Numbers

    "The decision of the Supreme Court today is substantial and vital. The court in its order struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act as "unconstitutional" which means that no private individual or entity can seek Aadhaar identification from the citizen of India. The order also strikes down the national security exception under the law and it effectively will mean greater privacy of individual's Aadhaar data and restriction on the government to accessibility," Ranjeet M., a senior Supreme Court advocate, told Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    welfare, database, citizens, identification, privacy, Supreme Court of India, Finance Ministry, India
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