Passing Aadhaar law as money bill is fraud: Justice Chandrachud

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, a member of the five-judge Supreme Court bench on Aadhaar issue, on Wednesday held that the Aadhaar Act cannot be treated as a money bill and passing it as one will be a fraud on the Constitution.

“Aadhaar cannot be treated as money bill and passing a bill as money bill which is not a money bill is a fraud on the Constitution,” he observed in a separate minority judgement.

Justice Chandrachud said the decision of the Lok Sabha Speaker on whether a bill can be treated as money bill can be subjected to judicial review.

“Aadhaar could not have been brought as money bill. The Speaker cannot take away the powers of the Rajya Sabha, a creation of the Constitution. No power is absolute,” he said.

While agreeing with the majority on some points, Justice Chandrachud dissented on the main point about money bill and the principle of proportionality of the applicability of Aadhaar.

“Absence of regulatory and monitoring framework leaves the law ineffective in the protection of data,” he said.

He also observed that there was a risk of surveillance of people on the basis of data collected under the Aadhaar scheme and the data could be misused.

While the majority judges upheld the linking of Aadhaar with Income Tax returns (ITR), Justice Chandrachud junked linking it with PAN and ITR.

“Linking Aadhaar with mobile SIM poses a grave threat to individual liberty and needs to be deleted,” he said.

“The protection of data of 1.2 billion people is a matter of national security and cannot be allowed to be handled by an entity through a contract,” he observed.