AADHAAR CONTROVERSY

Aadhaar hearing: A law cannot be declared unconstitutional because of fear of misuse, says SC

Justice DY Chandrachud said it was necessary to establish that the legislation is a colourable one in order to strike it down.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said a law cannot be declared unconstitutional just because there was a possibility of it being misused, NDTV reported. A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, was hearing a clutch of petitions that challenge the constitutional validity of the government’s biometric identification programme.

Justice DY Chandrachud said there were many judgments of the Supreme Court that concluded that a mere possibility of misuse could not lead to striking down of a legislation. Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of the petitioners, replied that Aadhaar law is an exception to these judgments as it was already being misused, NDTV reported.

“Striking down a legislation is a problem for us,” Justice Chandrachud said. He added that for the court to strike down a law, it must be established that the legislation is a colourable one. A colourable legislation is when the legislature indirectly enacts a law it is not allowed to do within the constraints of the Constitution.

Sibal said the problem with the Aadhaar law is the “unbridled nature of power”. The lawyer argued that the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Aadhaar would have “far-reaching effects” and “affect future generations”.

“Aadhaar is nothing but right to information for the state,” Sibal argued. “Information is power and if the power is given to state, it will use it like never before.” Sibal also said that Aadhaar could not identify whether a person is a terrorist or a money launderer, and thus its utility to national security was exaggerated.

However, the judge said the constitutionality of a law has to be based on the generality of the cases, and not exceptional cases. “How does the court decide what level of risk is proper?” Chandrachud asked. “Should the court get into this or should it be left to the legislature?”

The bench will continue hearing the matter on Wednesday.

During the last hearing on February 1, Chandrachud had lost his cool when counsel Shyam Divan, who is representing the petitioners, had questioned the credibility of a World Bank report that the government had cited in its affidavit.

“Since the beginning, I am hearing this that if I am not with you, then I am an Aadhaar judge,” Chandrachud had said. “I do not care...I am not answerable to anybody. I am committed to the Constitution.”

In a landmark ruling in August 2017, the Supreme Court had declared privacy a fundamental right protected under Article 21 of the Constitution. The bench was initially set up on December 13, but two days later, the Supreme Court agreed to the Centre’s submissions to extend the deadline to link Aadhaar with all government schemes and services to March 31. The interim order also extended the deadline to link Aadhaar with mobile numbers to the end of the financial year.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.

Play

Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.