‘Identity of Indians cannot be confined to Aadhaar alone,’ Kapil Sibal argues in Supreme Court

The senior advocate held that allowing private entities to mandate Aadhaar was ‘gravely unconstitutional’.

Indians are much more than their Aadhaar numbers, and the government cannot reduce them to just one identity based on the scheme, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, The Hindu reported.

Sibal is one of the advocates representing the petitioners who challenged the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar programme in the top court. A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, is hearing the case. The petitions primarily question the validity of Aadhaar based on privacy concerns.

“Our identity cannot be confined to mere Aadhaar numbers; we are all much more,” Sibal argued, according to Live Law. He said a citizen may face the risk of being dubbed an “anti-national” if he or she is not enrolled in the Aadhaar scheme.

He also argued that Aadhaar would not allow any other government-approved document to establish a person’s identity. “I am not going to make a political argument,” Sibal said. “I am going to make legal arguments against this one-nation-one-identity move.”

Justice Ashok Bhushan, one of the judges on the bench, questioned what was wrong with the concept of “one identity for one nation”, saying, “after all, we are all Indians”.

He also noted that the Aadhaar Act specifies that the unique identity number is not meant only for access to social benefits. The judge made this point as the petitioners have challenged the Centre’s move to link Aadhaar to mobile phones, bank accounts and Permanent Account Numbers. Sibal argued that this gives the government “blanket power”.

Sibal also argued against a provision in the Aadhaar Act that allows entities other than the government to seek Aadhaar details. “It is gravely unconstitutional to entitle even private entities to mandate Aadhaar,” he said, according to Live Law.

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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.

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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.


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