Writ Petition (Civil) No. 494 of 2012

Aadhaar Act Case

Case Description

This case will decide the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act.


In 2011, the Central Government initiated a new identity document known as the Aadhaar Card which was to be issued by a new agency, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). This card would be the basic identity card in India and would be available to every resident of the country free of cost.

However, to get this unique identity number, every resident would submit their biometric data which includes a scan of their fingerprints and retinas. This information would then be housed in a governmental database.

The Government has also progressively made the Aadhaar Card mandatory for numerous welfare schemes. These include subsidised food under the Public Distribution System, Labour for a wage under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and even the Mid-Day Meal Scheme providing free lunches to schoolchildren.

The Aadhaar Scheme was challenged before the Supreme Court by Justice K.S. Puttaswamy, a retired judge of the Karnataka High Court alleging several infringements of fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution. These objections can broadly be divided under two heads,

  1. That there was no adequate safeguard for the privacy of an individual. This is because any private entity may request authentication by Aadhaar for any reason subject to regulations by the UIDAI as also there are no checks on the power of the government to use the biometric data collected.
  2. That the entitlements given to the people by the governments are themselves a fundamental right and cannot be limited for any reason including non-production of an Aadhaar Card.

In response, the government has argued that India has no right to privacy at all and that the Government is well within its powers to make the Aadhaar card mandatory for any reason. It is further argued that such a measure is necessary to prevent corruption and leakages in welfare schemes across India and the absence of such a measure has cost the people an untold amount of money.


  1. Whether the citizens of India have a fundamental Right to Privacy.
  2. Whether the maintenance of a record of biometric data violates this Right to Privacy.
  3. Whether the Aadhaar card can be made mandatory for all residents of India.



The AADHAAR (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016


Writ Petition by S.G. Vombatkere (Challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar Act 2016)

Writ Petition by Mr Raghav Tankha (Challenging the mandatory linking of mobile numbers with Aadhaar and re-verification of mobile users)

Writ Petition filed by Dr. Kalyani Menon Sen (Challenging linkage of mobile numbers and bank accounts with Aadhaar)

Writ Petition filed by Mr Ram Pratap Misal (Challenging the requirement of Aadhaar for the post of APP)

Writ Petition filed by Ms Shantha Sinha (Challenging the mandatory use of Aadhaar for the government’s social welfare schemes)

Written submissions by Mr. Kapil Sibal.

Application by Ms Shantha Sinha to submit further documents

Impeadment Application filed by Swatantra (Counsel Jayna Kothari)

Application for direction by Swatantra (Counsel Jayna Kothari)

Intervenor Application filed by Mr Matthew Thomas (1)

Intervenor Application filed by Mr Matthew Thomas (2)

Intervenor Application filed by Mr Matthew Thomas (3)

Intervenor Application filed by Mr Matthew Thomas (4)

Intervenor Application filed by Mr Bezwada Wilson (1)

Intervenor Application filed by Mr Bezwada Wilson (2)

Intervenor Application filed by Mr Bezwada Wilson (3) 

Impleadment Application filed by the Centre for Civil Society

Impleadment Application filed by Justice Anand Byrareddy

Intervention Application filed by Oil Marketing Companies

Impleadment Application filed by Mr. Rajeev Chandrashekhar


Counter-Affidavit filed by the Government


Interim Relief Order passed by the Supreme Court on 15.12.2017

Opening Statement by Mr Shyam Divan in January 2018

Main heads of challenge by Mr Shyam Divan

Mr Shyam Divan’s Surveillance Note (illustration of how IP can be used to pinpoint location)



We would like to thank Mr Rahul Narayan, Advocate-on-Record, and Mr Prasanna S. for providing us with these documents.


Read our reports of the hearings here:

Aadhaar Act: Interim relief Arguments

Aadhaar Act: Day 1 Arguments

Aadhaar Act: Day 2 Arguments

Aadhaar Act: Day 3 Arguments

Aadhaar Act: Day 4 Arguments

Aadhaar Act: Day 5 Arguments

Aadhaar Act: Day 6 Arguments

Aadhaar Act: Day 7 Arguments

Aadhaar Act: Day 8 Arguments

Aadhaar Act: Day 9 Arguments

Aadhaar Act: Day 10 Arguments

Aadhaar Act: Day 11 Arguments

Aadhaar Act: Day 12 Arguments

Aadhaar Act: Day 13 Arguments

Latest Hearing

Judgment Pending

Snr Counsel Kapil Sibal concluded with Snr. Counsel Gopal Subramanium starting


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