Reading list: Six articles that explain why Aadhaar is being challenged in the Supreme Court

On Friday, the court is likely to give its verdict on whether the unique identity number should be made mandatory for filing I-T returns and getting PAN cards.

The Supreme Court is likely to give its verdict on whether Aadhaar should be made mandatory for filing income tax returns and getting PAN cards. A bunch of petitions that challenged Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, which was introduced through the latest Budget and the Finance Act, 2017, will be heard.

On April 21, the Supreme Court had questioned the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for IT returns despite its repeated orders that the unique identification programme cannot be made compulsory. In March, the court had asserted that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for welfare schemes – as established in previous interim orders. This was after the bench had reminded the Centre in August 2015 that Aadhaar must be voluntary.

However, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has, time and again, argued that Aadhaar was unique and could not be duplicated. “There are over 113 crore Aadhaar numbers and not a single case of duplication,” Rohatgi had claimed.

The Centre had also argued that Aadhaar will help fulfil India’s international obligations in the fight against black money. He had added that citizens do not have absolute right over their bodies, and that an array of laws and rules has already imposed limitations on this right.

Here is a round-up of pieces published on Scroll.in on the Aadhaar controversy:
•Aadhaar is vulnerable to identity theft because of its design and the way it is used: A centralised database, dual use as identifier and authenticator, and lack of sound legal framework are its main weaknesses.
•Amid the debate about privacy, the more pressing issue of exclusion has been forgotten: Exclusion due to authentication errors and deactivation have an immediate impact on millions of people across India.
•Haryana is making babies enrol in Aadhaar before it will issue them birth certificates: Even though the state government denies that the identity number is mandatory to obtain this document, officials on the ground admit that it virtually is.
•Government websites are leaking Aadhaar numbers. Who will take action against the government?: Caches of Aadhaar data are leaking regularly, yet UIDAI insists the digital identity is secure.
•Under the right to information law, Aadhaar data breaches will remain a state secret: Scroll.in’s queries for information were dismissed on grounds of national security and confidentiality.
•Who will own your data when your electronic health records are linked to Aadhaar?: The draft health privacy law will be made public to invite comments in the coming weeks, government officials say.