Facial recognition another layer of identification for Aadhaar, SC told

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New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) The Supreme Court was told by the government on Thursday that besides iris scan and fingerprints, the UIDAI had added facial recognition as another layer of identification for Aadhaar number authentication.

While introducing facial authentication this year, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIADI) had said that “this facility is going to help in inclusive authentication of those not able to biometrically authenticate due to their worn out fingerprints, old age or hard-work conditions”.

Taking exception to overarching regulation of citizens by the State, senior counsel Gopal Subramanium told the five-Judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that the apex court should impose exemplary fine on the State for the loss of lives because of disregard of the court’s order by its agencies.

“It is atrocious for the State to violate the court orders… knowing well that it was defying the court orders and that has resulted in the death of people. They should be saddled with exemplary costs,” Subramanium said.

Appearing for the petitioners — former Maj General S.G. Vombatkere and Col Mathew Thomas — Subramanium said no purpose of the State could be larger and overarching regulation of the citizens by the State is contrary to the Constitution.

Subramanium and other senior lawyers appearing for the petitioners urged the court to extend the March 31 deadline for linking Aadhaar numbers with various schemes, including bank accounts and mobile numbers.

The court was told this in the course of the hearing of a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme on the touchstone of the fundamental right to privacy.

The court was moved by former Karnataka High Court Judge K.S. Puttuswamy, Magsaysay awardee Shanta Sinha, feminist researcher Kalyani Sen Menon and others.

The hearing will continue on March 6.



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