The Supreme Court is to deliver its verdict on pleas seeking to review its own verdict given on September 26, 2018, upholding the Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid but cancelling some provisions like linking it to bank accounts, mobile phones, and school admissions.
A batch of review pleas challenging the 2018 verdict, will be heard by a 5-judge bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud, A M Khanwilkar, Ashok Bhushan, BR Gavai, and SA Nazeer.
Justices Khanwilkar, Chandrachud, and Ashok Bhushan were part of the original bench that delivered the verdict on the Aadhaar scheme on 26th September 2018.
A Five Judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Deepak Misra ruled that while Aadhar will remain important to file income tax returns and allotment of the PAN (Permanent Account Number), it won’t be linked to mobile phones, bank accounts, etc. anymore.
Though the 4:1 judgment struck down some important provisions the court held that it will continue to be needed for all welfare schemes and government subsidies.
After ruling that Aadhar cannot be used in linking bank accounts or availing mobile services, by CBSE, JEE, NEET for admission in schools and colleges the top court observed that Aadhar had become a household name.
The portion that had been struck down as unconstitutional by the court was Section 57 of Aadhar (Targeted delivery of financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act which permitted private entities like the private telecom companies to avail Aadhar biometric data.
Justice D Y Chandrachud who was a part of the bench gave a dissenting judgment that the Aadhar should not have been passed as a money bill as it is like a fraud to the constitution and can be struck down any time.
But, the four judges who made the majority including the CJI passed a verdict in favour of the passage of the Aadhar Bill as a Money Bill in Lok Sabha. The majority also held that the architecture of the Aadhar scheme and the provisions was not to create a surveillance state.
This was ensured by the manner by which the Aadhaar project operates. The judges found that it is difficult to create a profile of a person just on the basis of biometric data. The court held that as far as authentication is concerned there are enough safeguards.
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