The Supreme Court of India has refrained the Madras High Court and other courts from making a final judgment on the Aadhaar and Social media linking case.
The apex court has also sent a notice to the Centre government and the Tamil Nadu government seeking a response on the issue. In fact, social media tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter have also been informed by the court. The matter is listed for further hearing in the court on September 13.
The SC has not stayed proceedings before the Madras HC. The hearing before the Madras HC which is scheduled for tomorrow will happen as planned. However, the SC has stated that no final orders shall be passed by the Madras HC.
— Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) (@internetfreedom) August 20, 2019
Prior to this, cases involving Aadhaar and social media link were pending in three high courts. The new development comes from Facebook’s plea to shift “similar” cases to the apex court.
What is Aadhaar-Social Media linking case about?
Many PIL (Public Interest Litigation) have been filed over the interlinking of Aadhaar and social media profiles. Currently, Madras, Tamil Nadu, and Bombay high court are hearing these petitions.
The Tamil Nadu government has argued that social media channels should be linked with the Unique Identification number. This, in turn, would help police in nabbing cybercriminals and curbing fake news.
Attorney General K K Venugopal from the Tamil Nadu state told the Supreme Court, “The linking of social media profiles of the users with the Aadhaar was needed to check fake news, defamatory articles, pornographic materials, anti-national and terror contents in the online media.”
However, Facebook has shown resistance to the move. The silicon-valley tech giant argues that they cannot share personal data for linking Aadhaar with its social media platform. The argument is based on the fact that Facebook’s messaging service WhatsApp follows end-to-end encryption and even the company doesn’t have access to it.
Interestingly, SC had previously ruled that Aadhaar linking isn’t required unless it involves government subsidies. In fact, the judgment also ruled out banks forcing people to link their Aadhaar card as “unconstitutional”.
For now, the Supreme Court hasn’t blocked the proceedings in the high courts. To get a concrete idea on the same, we will have to wait until the court gives out its final word.