The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld constitutional validity of Aadhaar and struck down Section 57 permitting private entities to avail the data. However, it ruled that Aadhar is not needed for school admissions and mobile phone connections. Also, individuals can approach courts to file cases under the Aadhaar Act. Earlier, only the UIDAI and its officials could file cases.
“Aadhaar means unique and it is better to be unique than being best.” The apex court made this observation while pronouncing of the verdict by a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
Stating that Aadhaar empowers the marginalised sections of society and gave them an identity, the SC asked the Central government to introduce a robust data protection law as soon as possible.
The bench had on May 10 reserved the verdict on the matter after a marathon hearing that went on for 38 days, spanning four-and-half months.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday brought out the list of services for which biometric ID Aadhaar needs to be mandatorily linked and the ones for which it is not required.
Where Aadhaar is not needed
1. Children cannot be denied any benefit due to not having Aadhaar. Hence, Aadhaar is not needed for school admissions.
2. Compulsory linking of mobile phone numbers to Aadhaar
3. Aadhaar is not needed for opening a bank account and banking services
4. CBSE, NEET, UGC cannot make Aadhaar mandatory to appear in entrance examinations
5. No private entity can avail Aadhaar data which includes telecom companies and mobile wallets
Where Aadhaar is mandatory
1. Linking of PAN with Aadhaar
2. Mandatory for filing of IT returns and allotment of Permanent Account Number
3. Aadhaar must for availing facilities of welfare schemes and government subsidies