Supreme Court declares Centre’s Aadhaar scheme Constitutionally valid

The Supreme Court on September 26, 2018  declared the Central Government’s flagship Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid. The verdict was pronounced on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar scheme and its enabling 2016 law.

  • A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, however, struck down some of its provisions including its linking with bank accounts, mobile phones and school admissions. 
  • Justice Chandrachud was lonely voice to term the Aadhaar scheme as unconstitutional. 
  • The five member constitutional bench included Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar,  Justice A K Sikri, Justice Chandrachud and Justice A Bhushan.    
  • The apex court held that Aadhaar would remain mandatory for:
    • The filing of IT returns
    • Allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN).
  • Aadhaar would not be mandatory:
    • To link Aadhaar to bank accounts
    • School admissions,
    • The examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Examination, National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for medical entrance and the University Grants Commission.
    • Telecom service providers cannot seek its linking for mobile connections.
      The SC struck down the national security exception under the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act.

Judgment features

  • According to the Honourable court, 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.
  • The top court said that Aadhaar means unique and it is better to be unique than being best.
  • Justice Sikri struck down Section 57 of Aadhaar Act permitting private entities to avail Aadhaar data and ruled that Aadhaar authentication data cannot be stored for more than six months.
  • There was nothing in the Aadhaar Act that violates the right to privacy of an individual.
  • Aadhaar authentication data cannot be stored for more than six months, it directed the government not to give Aadhaar to illegal immigrants.

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