In a landmark 4-1 judgement on Wednesday, the Supreme Court's five-judge constitution bench while upholding validity of Aadhaar, -12-digit Unique Identification Number-has barred Individual and private corporates to collect Aadhar data, nor it can be mandated for opening of bank accounts, and insurance policies.
The Court struck down down section 57 of Aadhaar Act preventing the use of Aadhaar number for establishing the identity of an individual for any purpose, whether by the State or any body corporate or person. "Minimal demographic & biometric data of citizens are collected by the UIDAI for Aadhaar enrolment. Aadhaar number given to a person is unique & can't go to any other person" said the SC.
However, the SC said said sufficient security measures are taken to protect Data and difficult to launch surveillance on citizens on basis of Aadhaar,
Now, Aadhaar cannot be mandatory for mobile connections but is maded mandatory for Income Tax returns.
The SC has upheld the Aadhaar as a money bill is made mandatory for PAN linking However, it is is not mandatory for UGC, NEET & CBSE examinations.
“ Biometric data shall not be shared with any agency without the permission of the court,’’ said SC
The SC also said Aadhaar need not be made compulsory for school admissions.
The controversial section 33(2) of the Aadhaar Act, which makes an exception to the primacy of security of data of an individual and allows an officer of the rank of joint secretary to disclose it in matters of national security, has also been revoked by the Court.The SC provided some more security measures as well as reduces period of storage of data.
“We are of the view that there are sufficient safeguards to protect data collected under Aadhaar scheme, ‘’says apex court adding that DoT notification to that effect unconstitutional.
Aadhaar is also to empower the marginalised section of society; it gives them an identity, said SC.
Profiling not possible using aadhaar and sufficient safeguards to disallow it.
Justice AK Sikri authored the judgement on behalf of him, CJI and Justice Khanwilkar. Justice Chandrachud and Justice A Bhushan have written their individual opinions
However some provisions Section 57 including are struck down and private companies cannot insist on Aadhaar.
Justice AK Sikri while reading out verdict in Supreme Court on constitutional validity of Aadhaar, says, "It is better to be unique than to be best."
"Aadhaar empowers the marginalised section of the society and gives them an identity, Aadhaar is also different from other ID proofs as it can't be duplicated" he said.
For a record 38 days, the SCt heard some 27 petitions that had challenged the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and called it a violation of the right to privacy.
A five-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice A K Sikri, Justice A M Khanwilkar, Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice Ashok Bhushan will pronounce the verdict.
The 12-digit Unique Identification Number was earkier made compulsory for services including bank accounts, PAN cards, cellphone services, passport and even driving licenses.