BJP, Cong welcome verdict; claim victory of their respective positions

26 Sep 2018

The Congress today said the Supreme Court verdict striking down several provisions of the Aadhaar biometric system is a "slap" on the NDA government while the ruling BJP called the judgement a big victory for the "pro-poor" Modi government.
Both the parties used the verdict by the apex court upholding Constitutional validity of the massive Aadhaar project to claim victory of their respective position on the contentious issue which triggered nation-wide debate on privacy concerns. Many rights' activists welcomed the judgement, saying it is a "historic verdict" that will provide major relief to the common man while some termed it "disappointing".  While giving constitutional validity to the project, a five-judge constitution bench restricted government's push to make Aadhaar mandatory for various services including opening of bank accounts, obtaining mobile phone connections and securing school admissions. The Congress said by scrapping the "draconian" Section 57 and the national security exception in the Aadhaar Act, the Supreme Court firmly put an end to a "mass surveillance exercise" being carried out under the guise of Aadhaar by the central government and the "grotesque distortion" of an idea conceived by the previous UPA dispensation.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal also expressed satisfaction over exclusion of private companies from Aadhaar project and said the idea to involve private companies was not just "undemocratic" but was against the spirit of democracy. However, the BJP described the judgement as a big victory for the "pro-poor Modi government", citing the upholding of the constitutional validity of the project by the apex court.  In his reaction, BJP president Amit Shah mocked Congress chief Rahul Gandhi after he claimed that the Supreme Court order on Aadhaar supported his party's vision, saying, "Yes, the Congress won today, just like they won Lok Sabha Polls in 2014".
On his part, Rahul thanked the Supreme Court for the verdict, saying it was an instrument of empowerment for his party, but a "tool of oppression and surveillance" for the BJP. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra also hit back at the Congress after it projected the verdict as a slap on the face of the ruling party, saying the order has in fact exposed the opposition party. 
"We welcome the Supreme Court's decision to strike down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act. Private entities are no longer allowed to use Aadhaar for verification purposes," the Congress said on Twitter minutes after the verdict.  The delinking of Aadhaar from private entities is a 'slap on the face of BJP", said Congress national spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
"Slap on the face of BJP. Justice Sikri judgement strikes down Section 57 of Aadhaar Act, 2016, which says private body corporates can seek Aadhaar data. Says it's unconstitutional. All plans to monetise biometric data now fail," he tweeted. His colleague Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Supreme Court verdict "upholds the individual's right to privacy".