Government’s Aadhaar scheme has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, especially after it was made a mandatory document to link it with mobile number, bank account and more. Today, a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court led by CJI Dipak Misra, has delivered judgment on the validity of Aadhaar, with some modifications. As many as 31 petitions were challenged on the grounds that Aadhaar violated the right to privacy of citizens.
The government had made it mandatory to link Aadhaar with mobile number, bank account and more. But following recent Aadhaar data breaches, there have been concerns over sharing data with third-parties. The Supreme Court has struck down the Section 57 and Section 33 (2) under Aadhaar Act, 2016, which means that corporate and private companies cannot ask for Aadhaar, not they can access the data. “We are of the view that there are sufficient safeguards to protect data collected under Aadhaar scheme,” the judges said (via IANS).
In simple terms, it is no longer mandatory to give you 12-digit Aadhaar number for opening a bank account or getting a new SIM connection. This also means that you no longer need to link your Aadhaar with mobile number or bank account. Also, CBSE , NEET, UGC boards cannot make it mandatory to present Aadhaar for getting an admission.
This is a big relief for citizens as government had mandated linking Aadhaar with bank account and mobile number, and failing to do so would have resulted in denial of services. It had become a headache for citizens as it wasn’t just about linking Aadhaar with bank account and mobile number, but for other services too such as opening an fixed deposit, a recurring deposit, an EPF account, to name a few. Even when you join a private company, Aadhaar was made a mandatory document for processing data.
Justice Chandrachud said that Aadhaar carries a risk of surveillance of people based on the data that is collected, which can be misused. Aadhaar also violates privacy rights as it can lead to profiling of voters and individuals. “Aadhaar numbers shall be deleted forthwith by the telecom companies,” he said. However, it is still mandatory to link Aadhaar with PAN card, and for filing income tax returns.