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The Delhi High Court today issued notice to Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the Central government in a plea seeking damages for Aadhaar data leaks.
The respondents were granted six weeks’ time to file their replies in the matter.
A Division Bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Anu Malhotra was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Prof. Shamnad Basheer.
In his petition, Basheer contended that the instances of Aadhaar data leaks have resulted in a breach of the fundamental Right to Privacy as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, and as affirmed in Justice KS Puttaswamy v Union of India.
In addition to information on the number of data breaches which have taken place since the inception of UIDAI and the Aadhaar scheme, Basheer also seeks “exemplary damages” in order to deter UIDAI and the Centre from future negligent behavior that compromises constitutional/statutory/common law rights of all ‘Aadhaaris’.
The petition has also sought information on the steps taken by the Central government and the UIDAI towards remedying and rectifying their security practices pursuant to the Aadhaar data breaches, and their compliance with the existing data protection safeguards.
Additionally, the petitioner seeks a direction to the UIDAI to delete of all his data from the system, while allowing him to opt out of the Aadhaar scheme, or to allocate a new Aadhaar ID to him, in view of the threat of the reported data breaches.
Similarly, a direction is also sought to direct UIDAI to permanently deactivate all existing Aadhaar numbers since the data has been compromised.
On May 18 this year, the Delhi High Court had decided to await the outcome of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar Scheme, and had listed it for hearing on August 21.
However, today, the Court ultimately issued notice to UIDAI and the Centre.
Basheer was represented through Advocates Siddharth Aggarwal and Rupali Francesa Samuel. The writ petition was filed through Samuel and advocates Jhanvi Dubey and Siddharth Satija.
The matter will next be heard on November 19.