In a much-awaited judgment the Supreme Court today declared that Aadhaar is constitutionally valid, but it is not mandatory for all services. This means that you no longer need to link your bank account or mobile number with Aadhaar. It is also no longer compulsory to give Aadhaar number for school admissions. The top court said that seeking Aadhaar details does not violate the right to privacy. Aadhaar must be linked with the welfare schemes and government subsidies to avail their benefits, the top court said, adding that when children become adults, they can opt out from these facilities.
The bench also said that private companies cannot access Aadhaar data. Seeking biometric details does not violate the right to privacy, said Justice Bhushan.
On the top court’s verdict on the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, the Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Those people who started the campaign for Aadhaar have now become the critic of Aadhaar now. There will be a committee set up to look into the suggestions. A robust parliamentary law was upheld by the Supreme Court today. The poor will get empowered and their dignity will be restored. This judgment promotes accountability to the government of India. A historic 4:1 judgment was given by the Supreme Court today.”
The Unique Identification Authority of India CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey told PTI that the 4:1 apex court judgment announced Wednesday is in favor of Aadhaar.
“It is 4:1 judgment in favor of Aadhaar. The court has declared Aadhaar constitutionally valid. It is a money bill. It can be used for pan card. It empowers the poor and marginalized section. Aadhaar can be used for subsidies and government schemes so that there is no leakage of government funds. It can be used for income tax so that tax evasion and black money can be curbed,” Pandey said.
Here’s a lowdown on what the Aadhaar verdict means for you:
- Aadhaar-PAN linking:
Aadhaar is compulsory for filing Income Tax return, so you must link it with your PAN number. PAN-Aadhaar linking deadline is March 31, 2019.
- Aadhaar-Welfare Schemes Linking:
If you wish to avail the benefits from government’s welfare schemes and subsidies, you must link them with Aadhaar.
- Aadhaar-phone number linking:
It is no longer compulsory to link your phone number with Aadhaar, so the messages from the telecom service providers to link Aadhaar can safely be ignored.
- Aadhaar-Bank Account Linking:
You are no longer required to link your bank accounts with Aadhaar.
While the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down linking of mobile phone numbers and bank accounts with Aadhaar was welcomed by most, it does not yet address a key question.
What happens to the data and Aadhaar numbers that telecom companies, banks and other private entities have already collected?