SC upholds constitutional validity of Aadhaar, but limits application

The Supreme Court today upheld the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act, which was introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha as a money bill to skirt the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA was in a minority.

In a 4:1 majority judgment, a Constitution bench of the apex court upheld the constitutional validity of the centre's flagship scheme, but with conditions. 
The SC upheld most of the provisions of Aadhaar Act, but said private companies cannot insist on Aadhaar. It also struck down the national security exception for disclosure of Aadhaar information as per Section 33(2). 
In his judgement, Justice AK Sikri said being unique is better than being best and Aadhaar is unique. It is Justice Sikri's judgment that will be upheld as two other judges of the five-judge bench have concurred with it.
Justice DY Chandrachud in his dissenting judgment declared the Aadhaar scheme unconstitutional. 
While upholding the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, the Supreme Court, struck down several of its provisions.
Aadhaar is no more mandatory for mobile connections, neither is it necessary for opening a bank account or for gettoing achild admitted to school.
The top court held the right to education is a fundamental right of every child in the age group of six to 14 and it couldn’t be subject to children submitting the Aadhaar number.
But, it is mandatory quoting of Aadhaar / Enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form, for filing of return of income and for making an application for allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN card).
With the striking down of the National Security Exception for Aadhaar, the investigating agencies would now require a judicial warrant to access data of a person under investigation.
Also, Aadhaar authentication records cannot be stored for more than six months, rules the Apex Court. The provision to keep data for five years under the Aadhaar Act is bad in law, the SC observed.
While striking out Section 2(d) of the Aadhaar Act to exclude metadata of transactions, the apex court said a data protection law is needed as soon as possible.
Services requiring Aadhaar linking:
  • It is mandatory to link PAN with Aadhaar;
  • Aadhaar is compulsory for filing Income Tax returns;
  • Aadhaar must for availing facilities of welfare schemes and government subsidies;
Services not requiring Aadhaar linking:
  • It is not mandatory to link bank account with Aadhaar;
  • Telecom service providers cannot ask for linking mobile number with Aadhaar;
  • CBSE, NEET, UGC cannot make Aadhaar mandatory;
  • Aadhaar not compulsory for school admissions; and
  • No child can be denied benefits of any schemes on not being able to bring Aadhaar.