Political reactions poured in shortly after the Supreme Court declared the Centre’s flagship Aadhaar scheme constitutionally valid.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi thanked the Supreme Court for its verdict, saying Aadhaar was an instrument of empowerment for his party, but a 'tool of oppression and surveillance' for the Bharatiya Janata Party.
'For Congress, Aadhaar was an instrument of empowerment.
'For the BJP, Aadhaar is a tool of oppression and surveillance.
'Thank you Supreme Court for supporting the Congress vision and protecting India,' he said on Twitter.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hailed the verdict, saying not linking it to mobile phones and bank accounts was a great relief for the common people.
"We welcome the verdict by the Supreme Court. It is a victory of the people of this country and we are very happy," Banerjee told reporters in Milan, Italy, where she is on an official tour.
"Days of the BJP government are over in the country," she asserted.
'From day one, we have fought for this. Not linking Aadhaar to mobile phones, bank accounts and others is a great relief for the common people. My best wishes to all,' the chief minister said in a tweet later in the day.
Hailing the Supreme Court verdict, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said it has retrieved the UPA's original idea of the scheme after the National Democratic Alliance government tried to convert it into a 'monster'.
Chidambaram said the Aadhaar remains work in progress and a future government will surely bring in amendments.
"For now, we can be satisfied that a rampaging government has been restrained and the reach of Aadhaar has been contained to benefits, subsidies and services paid out of the Consolidated Fund of India,” he said.
In a series of tweets, the former Union minister said the Aadhaar was meant to be a 'benign instrument' to deliver benefits, subsidies and services to the poor and the majority judgment in the Aadhaar case has retrieved the UPA government's original idea of Aadhaar.
'The NDA tried to convert Aadhaar into a monster that will rule every aspect of a person's life. And the NDA had been firmly rebuffed... Glad that the UPA's policy has been vindicated,' he said.
The former finance and home minister said several provisions of the Act and the regulations have been struck down as unconstitutional and it was a humbling lesson for the Union Ministry of Law.
'The Act came perilously close to being struck down on the ground it was passed as a Money Bill when it was not. The Act was saved by judicial forbearance. The dissenting judgment of Justice Chandrachud has many valuable lessons for all governments, especially the imperious NDA government. They would do well to heed those lessons,' he said.
The Congress said the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 57 of the Act, which allowed private parties to access Aadhaar data, is a 'slap on the face of the Bharatiya Janata Party'.
The delinking of Aadhaar from private entities is a ‘slap on the face of BJP’, added Congress national spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
'Slap on the face of BJP. Justice Sikri judgment strikes down Section 57 of Aadhaar Act, 2016, which says private body corporates can seek Aadhaar data. Says it’s unconstitutional. All plans to monetise biometric data now fail,' he tweeted.
He also hailed the Supreme Court’s move to disallow metadata to be stored in current form.
The Trinamool Congress also hailed the Supreme Court judgment, saying, 'SC strikes down section 57 of Aadhaar Act, 2016. So you don’t need to give your Aadhaar to private bodies like banks, schools, mobile companies. Trinamool and @mamataofficial fought hard for this,' the party said in a tweet.