The Supreme Court has ruled that Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory for submitting forms for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and other national entrance exams.
The five-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra passed the interim order questioning the government about the issuance of such notifications.
The court in its ruling said that proofs of identity such as voter ID, passport or ration card should suffice and can be used to register for or appear in the coming NEET. The CBSE, which conducts the exam, should accept alternative proofs of identity, it added.
After this ruling, now students, who have Aadhaar is not required to produce it for appearing in national entrance exams.
Besides CBSE, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) are prohibited from making the unique number mandatory for examinations like Joint Entrance Exam (JEE-Main) and National Eligibility Test (NET) and the Common Admission Test held by Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).
The court also directed the government to inform CBSE to follow the order and upload it on its website. At present, CBSE is the partner for most national entrance tests, including JEE-Main, NEET, UGC-NET and Central Teacher Eligibility Test.
Earlier on Feb 23, CBSE had issued notifications making Aadhaar must for appearing in several national entrance tests. “The use of Aadhaar for applicants of UGC-NET(July) 2018 will result in accuracy of applicants’ details. This will also help ascertain identities of applicants at the examination centres in a convenient and hassle-free manner,” CBSE had said in a notification.
However, Attorney-general K.K. Venugopal, representing the Centre, told the court that neither the government nor the Aadhaar authority had asked the CBSE to make it mandatory.
The appeal was filed Abidali Yusufbhai Patel, who moved to the SC challenging the Gujarat high court order, which refused to grant interim relief to students seeking exemption from submitting Aadhaar while appearing for JEE(Main), 2018 (JEE) and NEET.
Meanwhile, the Apex Court on March 14 might pass appropriate directions regarding an extension of deadline fixed by the Centre for linking of Aadhaar cards to bank accounts, mobile phones, insurance policies and other services.
There are more than 1.3 billion Aadhaar holders in the country.
In the last couple of months, there have been multiple data breaches from several government portals relating to Aadhaar card details. The Centre also had admitted that Aadhaar card details of individuals had indeed been leaked.