The 5-judge bench of Supreme Court headed by CJI Dipak Misra in its majority judgment upheld the Aadhaar act with caveats. While delivering the landmark judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that the Aadhaar linking can’t be made mandatory for linking of bank accounts and mobile phones.
The 5-judge bench held, during the verdict, that linking of Aadhaar of bank accounts as unconstitutional. This is significant as earlier the RBI had made Aadhaar and PAN mandatory for bank accounts, and also highlighted that if one couldn’t furnish the same within a period of 6 months, the concerned account will ‘cease to be operational’.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday also said that there is no reasoning backing the logic of linking Aadhaar to mobile phones. The Centre had earlier directed to seed Aadhaar with mobile phones, insisting that the mobile users needed to be verified in the interest of national security.
The Supreme Court ruled that Aadhaar will not be mandatory for school admissions as also for the examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Examination, National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for medical entrance and the University Grants Commission.. The Supreme Court, while pronouncing the judgment said that ‘education is a right and not a benefit, therefore, Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for it.
The Supreme Court struck down Section 57 of Aadhaar Act which private entities to avail Aadhaar data. Justice Chandrachud said, "Allowing private players to use Aadhaar will lead to profiling which could be used to ascertain political views of citizens".
The Supreme Court upheld Section 7 of Aadhaar Act which states that the 12-digit biometric number is mandatory for receipt of subsidies, benefits or services funded out of the Consolidated fund of India. Justice Bhushan, while reading out the judgment said the ‘state has given sufficient reasons to uphold Section 7 of Aadhaar Act which deals with grant of subsidies, welfare benefits’.
It said Aadhaar is meant to help the benefits reach the marginalised sections of society and takes into account the dignity of people not only from personal but also community point of view.
The 5-judge bench of Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the constitutional validity of Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, 1961 which makes quoting of Aadhaar or enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form for filing of income tax returns and making application for allotment of PAN mandatory.