Here are the 10 key takeaways from the Supreme Court’s judgment on the validity of the aadhaar card:
(i) It is no longer required to link your Aadhaar card to phone numbers and bank accounts. The Supreme Court struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, which means that private companies cannot insist on Aadhaar details of customers.
(ii) The Supreme Court has ruled that the Aadhaar card has to be mandatorily linked to one’s PAN card. SC upheld the 139AA of Income Tax Act. It is mandatory to quote Aadhaar/Enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form for filing of return of income.
(iii) The SC struck down Section 33 (2) of the Aadhaar Act, which permits disclosure of identity information and authentication records for national security.
(iv) Aadhaar is not mandatory for school admission, Justice Sikri said while reading out the judgment. CBSE, UGC and NEET cannot make Aadhaar mandatory. Children will be given the option to opt out of Aadhaar benefits after becoming adults.
(v) The purpose of the Aadhaar Act is legitimate but it is satisfied only if Aadhaar collects minimal data, the Court observed, and that adequate measures must be in place to protect data. Aadhaar eliminates any chance of duplication, he said.
(vi) The Court called the Aadhaar enrolment process foolproof but asked the central government to come up with a stronger data protection law as soon as possible.
(vii) Aadhaar empowers marginalised sections of society by giving them an identity, it was said. The Supreme court said many people benefiting from Aadhaar cannot be denied their rights due to exclusion of a few.
(viii) It is better to be unique than the best and Aadhaar is based on being unique. The architecture of the Aadhaar Act reveals that UIDAI is a statutory body for assigning unique numbers and authentication. Uniqueness is based on submission of demographic and biometric data submission to UIDAI.
(ix) Heavy reliance has been put on the privacy judgment of 2017 and that human dignity is already a settled right from an individual’s point of view. Profiling is not possible using Aadhaar and that sufficient safeguards are in place to disallow it.
(x) Only an authority above Joint Secretary can take a call on sharing data. There has to be consultation between a secretary-level officer and a sitting or retired judge to decide if data is to be shared in national interest.