Published On : Fri, Sep 13th, 2019

Linking of Aadhaar with social media: SC seeks Centre’s response by 24 September

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre if it is considering any move to link social media accounts with the 12-digit unique identity scheme, Aadhaar.

The apex court was hearing a petition filed by social media giant Facebook, in which it had urged the SC to transfer to itself, four pleas pending in three High Courts seeking interlinking of Aadhaar with social media profiles to authenticate the identity of account users.

In its plea, Facebook had said that transferring the cases would help avoid the possibility of conflicting decisions from the High Courts.

On Friday, a two-judge bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddh Bose directed Centre to inform, by September 24, whether it is considering making policies to interlink social media accounts with Aadhaar.

Appearing for Centre, Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, informed SC that it had no objections to the apex court taking up the cases from the High Courts. However, the Tamil Nadu government, which, in a hearing on August 19, objected to Facebook’s plea, objected to the same again.

Tamil Nadu contends that interlinking is needed to put a check on terrorist messages, fake news and pornography. It also claims that it is working with IIT-Madras professors to find a solution to trace the origin of WhatsApp messages. It has also argued against the transfer of cases to the SC, saying that in the Madras High Court, in which two of the pleas have been filed, has already held multiple hearings in the case.

The other two pleas, Facebook says, are with the Bombay High Court and the Madhya Pradesh High Court. It has objected to the proposal on the grounds that it violates the privacy policy of users. Further, it has sought a stay on the proceedings saying that conflicting decisions would adversely affect its platform used throughout India.

On August 20, the SC had issued notices to the Centre, Google, Twitter and YouTube asking them to reply by September 13 after which Friday’s hearing took place.