Where Aadhaar Card is Mediator and Where not After the Supreme Court DecisionOctober 6, 2018
Aadhaar Card is an identification card, which contains 12-digit unique identity number for each citizen of India. The biometric and demographic data are collected by a statutory authority named Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). It was undertaken by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology under Aadhaar Act, 2016.
Why Aadhaar Number is important?
The 12-digit unique identity number was beneficial for many availing many schemes introduced by Government of India. Under the government led by Narendra Modi, Aadhaar became a mandatory requirement for 22 welfare schemes and programs. The subsidy given on LPG gas was based on direct benefit of Aadhaar, followed by the Jan Dhan Yogna, where Aadhaar is needed to open zero balance savings accounts, and many more. Slowly, these mandatory requirements got back-sided.
Supreme Court Verdict
The Aadhaar card was the subject of continuous rulings by the Supreme Court of India in the past few months. On 26 September 2018, Supreme Court came out heavily on the mandatory linking of Aadhaar number with all possible means.
Supreme Court announced the verdict on the validity of Aadhaar and its related provisions. It has stacked down the privilege to beach privacy. It makes the users of Aadhaar more protected against unnecessary exposure to personal information to private parties.
Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016 was revoked by the five-judge bench Supreme Court. This section gave privilege to the corporate and private entities to demand for Aadhaar number in every transaction of exchanging goods and services.
The 12-digit number was mandatory for any transaction for the identification purposes. Supreme Court confirmed that now this 12-digit number would not be shared or revealed to anyone.
The court’s judgements revealed that the private players like e-commerce firms, telecom companies, and private banks could not demand for biometrics, Aadhaar verification and other private data from the consumers in exchange for provided goods or services.
Therefore, no private company, either be it school, college, office or any company can demand for the unique identity of Aadhaar card. It is not mandatory for opening a bank account in private banks and transacting through private bank. However, Aadhaar number is required for areas related to Income Tax. Even, for PAN (Personal Account Number) card application Aadhaar card is still mandatory.
The telecom companies cannot demand the Aadhaar number for the verification of the mobile connection; all other identity cards were to given privilege before the acceptance of Aadhaar card.
The Section 33(2) of Aadhaar Act, 2016 was also revoked. This provision allowed sharing of data with security agencies. It was done with the seal of national security, which is being cancelled by Supreme Court of India.
Supreme Court has confirmed that no Indian citizen will receive denial under social welfare schemes due to Aadhaar authentication. However, illegal migrants will not be issued Aadhaar number for enjoying the benefits of social welfare schemes.
Previously when Aadhaar card is misplaced or lost, only the Government had the power to complain for the lost card. This was present in Section 47 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016. On 26 September 2018, during Aadhaar verdict, Supreme Court struck down Section 47, giving the authority to common people for complaining against their lost Aadhaar card.
The constitutional validity of Aadhaar card was challenged in Supreme Court with 31 petitions as it violates the right to privacy, therefore Supreme Court have taken charge to come up with more data security systems. Supreme Court had made it clear that no person will suffer for not getting an Aadhaar card, in favor of Indian citizens.