On the final Aadhaar hearing, Day 33, Rakesh Diwedi, senior counsel, referred to the Department of telecommunication’s circular, in his arguments, of date 23 March, 2017, directing all telecom operators for conducting re-verification of existing pre-paid and post-paid connection users, based on Aadhaar based KYC, in furtherance to the order of apex court in Lokniti Foundation vs. Union of India, dated February 6, 2017.
It was further observed, in the hearing, Aadhaar based e-KYC had been directed through DoT circular citing “this amounts to a direction” and has not been enforced by apex court in Lokniti Foundation v. UOI.
Senior counsel, further agreeing that e-KYC has not been ordered and resulted from the direction and recommendation of TRAI.
In Lokniti vs. UOI, court disposing off the writ petition, noted that prayer was to identify each and every mobile phone subscriber, pre-paid and post-paid both, resulting no fake or unverified subscriber can misuse the phone for any domestic criminal activity or terrorist activity, without foreign involvement, assuming phone to be biggest mechanism for communication in such activities.
In the case, court further observed, in Lokniti Foundation vs. UOI, that DoT had launched ‘Aadhaar based e-KYC for the process of issuing mobile connection to new subscribers and all verification will be based on biometric and demographic data, received from UDAI from the database of TSP with time stamps.
On Wednesday, senior counsel, Dwivedi further admitted that UIDAI is continuously and progressively monitoring hundred of ‘requesting entities’ excluding the problem or question of accumulation of data related to a resident, explaining, that number of present ‘requesting entities’ are not enough for verification, surveillance and profiling of particular individual.
Dwivedi further explained that companies, telecommunication one’s, gather and analyze, viable and demographic, data which is more vast and extendable than Aadhaar. Various algorithm and tools work on them for further processing and analyzing the data to get more information about the customers.
Further explaining, senior counsel submitted that biometric scanning machines are being verified and certifies by STQC, specially prepared to ensure that sensitive data is either being properly encrypted and transferred to CIDR and audited by approved system auditor.
Also Justice DY Chandrchud inquired about the need of collecting and retaining the metadata, to which Diwedi explained that metadata aids helps to verify the identity of requesting entity and from where an authentication request is being generated and received. Further confirming this, Diwedi explained, Central Government has no access to the data pertained in CIDR, and UIDAI functions as an autonomy body and independent from the working of Central Government.
Aditional solicitor general of India, Tushar Mehta, on Wednesday, justified the linking of bank accounts with Aadhaar under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Senior counsel, Jayant Bhushan, drew attention of the Supreme Court bench to RBI’s ‘Master Direction – Know Your Customer (KYC) Direction, 2016’, updated on April 20. In terms of the provisions of Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002 and the Prevention of Money-Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005, Regulated Entities are mandated to fulfill and complete the procedure of custom identification with the requirement of completing an account and managing and monitoring the transaction pertaining to that.
Senior counsel, further explaining, refereed to Section 35A of Banking Regulation Act,1949 read with Rule 9(14) of Prevention of Money-Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005, the RBI, that it is necessary and expedient in the public interest to do so.