Today on 26th September, by a majority judgment a five-judge bench Supreme Court declared Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid, the Supreme Court said there is nothing in the Aadhaar Act that violates right to privacy of individual. The court said it is mandatory for filing income tax returns but not mandatory to link Aadhaar to bank accounts and mobile phones. “It’s a landmark verdict. The concept and legislation of Aadhaar has been accepted after judicial review, it is a welcome decision,” says finance minister Arun Jaitley
Aadhaar is a 12-digit number to empower residents of India with a unique identity and a digital platform to authenticate anytime, anywhere. Person willing to enroll has to provide demographic along with bio metric information during the enrollment process. The Aadhaar enrollment process does not capture details like caste, religion, income, health and geography etc. The UIDAI was responsible to lay down plans and policies to execute the UID scheme, to own and run the UID database, and was also given responsibility for its updating and maintenance on an ongoing basis.
On 24 August 2017 the Supreme Court delivered a milestone verdict affirming the right to privacy as a fundamental right, overruling previous judgments on the issue. Due to privacy concerns some civil liberty groups such as the Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties and the Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF) have opposed the project.
Today judgement read out by Justice A.K. Sikri, a five-member constitution bench of the Supreme Court said the following points:
Aadhard cannot be mandatory for mobile phones and bank Linking. Aadhaar is mandatory for filing of income tax returns (ITR) and allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN).
The Majority has unanimously agreed the decision of the speaker of the Lok Sabha . This marks the beginning of a new era of accountability for the Speaker. The Supreme Court has upheld the arguments put forth by the central government in this regard
Section 57 which allows private companies to demand Aadhar card has been struck down as unconstitutional.
SC says CBSE, NEET, UGC cannot make Aadhaar mandatory. The 12-digit number is also not compulsory for school admissions.
“There is no possibility of obtaining a duplicate Aadhaar card, Also, there is sufficient defence mechanism for authentication in Aadhaar scheme” said Justice Sikri.
SC says no child can be denied benefits of any schemes on not being able to bring their Aadhaar number.