The petition argues that the UIDAI is ‘unconstitutional’ because the collection of biometric data is an invasion of a citizen’s right to privacy which is guaranteed by the Constitution under the Fundamental Right to Life, and therefore requires Parliament’s sanction and is beyond the scope of executive power.

The petition, therefore, argues that the executive decision by an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) and a notification by the Planning Commission on 28 January 2009, constituting the UIDAI under the Planning Commission, is unconstitutional.

Says Ankit Goel, one of the Supreme Court advocates for the petitioners, “The state is asking for biometrics of an individual. The mere asking of biometric data is encroaching into someone’s privacy. It is tantamount to phone tapping. Whereas in phone tapping there is legislation, there is no legislation here… In the absence of a law passed by Parliament there can’t be any collection of private information. This is against the law laid down by the Supreme Court.”

Flagging a very serious cause of concern, which is shared by many, about the confidentiality and security of the demographic and biometric data collected, he adds: “There is no regulatory mechanism to ensure that the data collected is not tampered with or remains secure. When there is no legislation, there is no offence in parting with this information. And when there is no offence, there can be security issues...”