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04 Dec 2020, Edition - 1970, Friday

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Aadhaar Verdict: Section 57 struck down; mobile companies, banks cannot demand Aadhaar

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While pronouncing the judgment on the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar, the five-judge bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra, struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act. Justice AK Sikri while reading the judgement upheld the validity of the Aadhaar but struck down a few provisions, including Section 57. Section 57 essentially allowed not only the State but also any “body corporate or person” or private entity to demand Aadhaar.

It is this provision that allows statutory support to mobile companies, private service providers, banks, payments services to seek an individual’s Aadhaar card for identification. It cannot ask for biometric as well. No mobile company can demand Aadhaar card, the Supreme Court said.

Essentially, citizens won’t need to link their Aadhaar cards with banks or mobile numbers.

The deadline for Aadhaar linking to mobile numbers had been extended to December 31 from March 31, earlier. The Supreme Court had said in March that linking of the Aadhaar to PAN, bank accounts and mobile numbers is to be extended indefinitely till the judgment.

There were three judgments, one by Justices AK Sikri, Chandrachud and Bhushan. The CJI and Justice Khanwilkar concurred with Justice Sikri.

Starting off, Justice Sikri said that it is better to be unique than the best. “Being unique is the basis of Aadhaar. Aadhaar is the most talked about identification system in the world,” he said.

He emphasised that there is fundamental difference between the Aadhaar and other identity proofs. “The court has observed that minimal data is collected for the purposes of establishing identity under Aadhaar. Aadhaar eliminates any chance of de-duplication,” he said.

“We’ve applied the fair and reasonable standards.Human dignity is based on socio economic rights. In the present case, we’ve enlarged the scope of human dignity. We’ve applied the principle of compelling state interest,” Justice Sikri said.

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