The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday said that a person’s rights cannot be denied on the ground of unavailability of Aadhaar.
Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, is constitutionally valid but one cannot stop the beneficiary from availing the services if he/she is not having an Aadhaar card, said the court.
While the majority judgment written by Justice AK Sikri in concurrence with CJI Dipak Misra and Justice AM Khanwilkar supporting the linking of PAN with Aadhaar, it set aside linking Aadhaar to bank accounts and mobile phone numbers.
The Apex body ruled out the demand of making Aadhaar compulsory for school admissions and said a child cannot be denied from availing the benefits of any scheme for not having Aadhaar number.
“CBSE, NEET, UGC cannot make Aadhaar mandatory, also it is not compulsory for school admissions,” Justice AK Sikri, who is part of the five-judge bench that heard a series of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act.
The court also asked the Central Government to introduce a stringent data protection law for Aadhaar as soon as possible. Justice Sikri also nullified Section 57 of Aadhaar Act, which enables private entities to access Aadhaar data. He added that Aadhaar authentication data cannot be stored for more than six months.
“Minimal demographic and biometric data of citizens are collected by the UIDAI for Aadhaar enrolment. Aadhaar number given to a person is unique and can’t go to any other person. Aadhaar identification is unparalleled,” Justice Sikri said.
Justice DY Chandrachud, one of the members of the five-judge bench said that permitting private players to access Aadhaar would lead to profiling, which could be used in analysing political views etc of citizens.