New Delhi: In a major relief for the common man, the Supreme Court of India on Wednesday scrapped various provisions of the Aadhaar Act which made mandatory the submission of Aadhaar Card complusory for UGC, NEET, JEE, CBSE and other board exams and which also made complusory linking bank accounts and mobile phones with the 12-digit UID number.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said Aadhaar would not be mandatory for school admissions, but upheld seeding of PAN with Aadhaar.
With the Supreme Court verdict, telecom operators like Tata Docomo, Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone and others can no longer force users to link their Aadhaar card to their mobile number. It also means that not linking Aadhaar to mobile phone numbers will no longer result in telecom services being stopped for the customer - something which was a norm in the last few months.
The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday also struck down a section of the law which prevented individuals from filing cases under the Aadhaar Act. Earlier, only the UIDAI and its officials could file cases, but now even indviduals can.
In addition to this, the Supreme Court also declared Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act as ‘unconstitutional’ and struck it down. Section 57 of Aadhaar Act talked about how private companies could also access Aadhaar data.
This also means that digital wallets like Paytm or Amazon Pay Balance cannot demand Aadhaar data from customers in order to to do a verification and allow them to continue using the services.
The Supreme Court of India however ruled it constitutionally valid saying it empowers marginalised sections of the society and gives them identity.
The Apex Court also ruled that there will not be any need to link Aadhar with bank accounts and mobile number - a relief for thousands who suffered just because their bank accounts and mobile phones were not linked with the 12-digit UID number.
"Aadhaar gives dignity to marginalised sections, which outweighs the harm," the Supreme Court of India said while pronouncing its verdict on 27 petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and calling it a violation of the right to privacy.
Ruling out compulsory Aadhaar for admission in school, Justice AK Sikri, one of the five judges of the SC bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, said, "For children enrolment, consent of parent or guardian is needed. On attaining majority, if child wants to exit, should be given permission to do so. Aadhaar not compulsory for school admissions."
Aadhar - the 12-digit Unique Identification (UID) Number was made mandatory for services including bank accounts, PAN cards, cellphone services, passport and even driving licenses. It was made the comprehensive proof of identity and residence, overriding all other earlier identity proofs.
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