Supreme Court is set to be having the final hearing of the legal challenges to the Aadhaar identification project case today. The bench of five judges headed by Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, will start hearing the batch of petitions, the earliest of which was filed back in 2012.
In this regard, a group of private companies have appealed to the Supreme Court to continue the Aadhaar identification program.
According to an Economic Times report, the petition has been filed by the Digital Lenders Association of India (DLAI) which comprises startups such as CapitalFloat, LendingKart, ZestMoney, IndiaLends as well as early-stage investment firms and companies which provide authentication services and background verifications. These companies are particularly appealing to ensure advantages such as eKYC offered by Aadhaar help a lot in real-time verification of customers.
Legally speaking, the petition is being termed as an 'intervention application' which has yet to be accepted by the SC. There is no clarity on when it will be heard according to legal experts who have spoken to ET.
In addition to this, another group of 50 companies have formed a 'Coalition for Aadhaar'. These companies include fintech firms, lending companies, verification agencies and others who extensively use the Aadhaar eKYC and authentication services. According to Saranya Gopinath, the spokesperson for the Coalition, these companies are from the non-govt sector who believe in the positive impact of Aadhaar.
Around 300 private companies use Aadhaar eKYC and authentication services according to ET.
One of the co-applicant in the appeal, Srikanth Nadhamuni, the CEO of Khosla Labs said that it's not just government organisations, but also private entities that use Aadhaar in a big way.
"Many companies felt that Aadhaar is a very positive and beneficial thing, and hence the group came together to voice support for its continued service which many companies have now come to depend upon," said Nadhumani to ET, who also served as the head of technology at the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in the past.
The Aadhaar case will be a look at the legality of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act which was enacted in 2016.
In December 2017, the court had extended the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes till 31 March, 2018. It had also modified its earlier order with regard to linking Aadhaar with mobile services and said the deadline of 6 February, 2018 for this purpose also stood extended till 31 March.
The same judges who had heard the matter then will be hearing it on Wednesday.