India

Supreme Court upholds Aadhaar but strikes down certain sections

Supreme Court bench on September 26 upheld the constitutionality of the Aadhaar scheme but struck down some of its provisions including linking with bank accounts, mobile phones and school admissions

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PTI

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, September 26, declared the Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid but struck down some of its provisions including its linking with bank accounts, mobile phones and school admissions.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra held that while Aadhaar would remain mandatory for filing of IT returns and allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN), it would not be mandatory to link Aadhaar to bank accounts and telecom service providers cannot seek its linking of Aadhaar for mobile connections.

It would also not be mandatory for school admissions, as also for the examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Examination, National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for medical students and the University Grants Commission.

The bench also struck down the national security exception under the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act.

It said Aadhaar is meant to help the benefits reach the marginalised sections of society and takes into account the dignity of people not only from personal but also community point of view.

There are three sets of judgements being pronounced. The first of the three verdicts was pronounced by Justice AK Sikri who wrote the judgement for himself, CJI and Justice AM Khanwilkar.

Justice Chandrachud and Justice A Bhushan, who are part of the bench, have written their individual opinions.

Observing that there has been minimal demographic and biometric data collected by UIDAI for Aadhaar enrolment, Justice Sikri said unique identification proof also empowered and gave identity to marginalised sections of society

Supreme Court’s observations an actions on Aadhaar

  • Section 57 of Aadhaar Act permitting private entities to avail Aadhaar data struck down
  • Aadhaar authentication data cannot be stored for more than six months
  • Government directed not to give Aadhaar to illegal immigrants.
  • Upheld passing of Aadhaar Bill as Money Bill by the Lok Sabha
  • Nothing in Aadhaar Act that violates right to privacy of an individual.
  • Central Govt to put in place robust data protection regime as early as possible
  • Unique identification proof empowered and gave identity to marginalised sections of society
  • Sufficient defence mechanism for authentication in Aadhaar scheme

The verdict was pronounced on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar scheme and its enabling 2016 law. 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.

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Published: 26 Sep 2018, 12:30 PM