In a much-awaited and a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court on Wednesday has struck down Section 57 of Aadhaar act that permits private firms to seek Aadhaar data.
“Section 57, to the extent, which permits the use of Aadhaar by the State or any body corporate or person, in pursuant to any contract to this the effect is unconstitutional and void,” said the Supreme Court in its 1448-page long judgement.
The ruling by the Apex Court means Aadhaar would not be mandatory to link with bank accounts. The ruling will also bar telecom service providers or e-tailers to seek the linking of Aadhaar.
As per ruling, no private company or bank or individual can ask for an Aadhaar.
For CBSE, NEET, UGC and school admissions Aadhaar will not be a compulsory requirement.
However, Aadhaar is mandatory for the filing of income tax returns (ITR) and allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN), the bench said while hailing it as unique not best scheme.
The five-judge bench said that there is nothing in Aadhaar Act that violates the right to privacy of an individual. The collection of data, its storage and use do not violate fundamental Right of Privacy. The Aadhaar authentication data cannot be held for more than 6 months, it added.
Meanwhile, the top court rapped the govt for insisting on Aadhaar for its several schemes.
“No children should be denied Govt benefit schemes on not being able to bring their Aadhaar number,” said the bench on the validity of Section 7.
The Aadhaar verdict was announced by a five-judge comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan.