The Supreme Court today has upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar Card, but with a condition. The five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, ruled that it does not breach privacy, thus supporting supported several provisions of the Aadhaar Card 2016.

After a marathon hearing that lasted 38 working days spread over four months, the constitutional bench has made a few changes, including revoking of Section 57 of the Act.

“We have concluded that it is simply difficult to declare the profile of a person on the basis of data stored in CIDR. Authentication data should not be stored beyond six months. Current rule that it can be archived for 5 years struck down,” Justice AK Sikri said.

Section 57 essentially allowed corporate bodies to seek Aadhaar data, which has been made unconstitutional now.

Sikri also said that Aadhaar card will not be necessary for school admission of children. “For children’s enrolment, consent of parent or guardian is needed. On attaining majority, if child wants to exit, should be given permission to do so. Aadhaar not compulsory for school admissions,” he said.

The apex court bench has also struck down the provision that stopped individuals from filing cases under the Aadhaar Act. Earlier, only the UIDAI and its officials could file cases, but now even individuals can.

“Once the people are ready and once India is techno-savvy to safeguard themselves from threats, then we can have mandatory Aadhaar card. We can have all the details, check on black money etc with the help of Aadhaar. And when we are making it mandatory, then government should hold responsibility in making people understand and prepare for this particular kind of sophisticated program,” – Rachna Khaira

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Also, private companies cannot demand linking their accounts with Aadhaar identification. While every individual has to link their PAN card to their Aadhaar card, it is not mandatory for them to provide their Aadhaar card details to banks, telephone companies or any other corporation.

Talking to SheThePeople.TV, journalist Rachna Khaira who investigated Aadhaar said, “Now the onus is more on the government to safeguard the privacy of individuals. We as journalists will keep on highlighting the loopholes and try and help the government. What I have found in my investigation is that Aadhaar should not be mandatory as people living in India, especially rural areas, do not understand technology. People innocently give away their login IDs and passwords to people which they should not and they don’t understand the gravity and dangers of data leak issues.”

“Once the people are ready and once India is techno-savvy to safeguard themselves from threats, then we can have Aadhaar card mandatory. We can have all the details, check on black money etc with the help of Aadhaar. And when we are making it mandatory, then government should hold responsibility in making people understand and prepare for this particular kind of sophisticated program,” added Khaira.

While the Supreme Court’s constitution bench has finally put a stop to a raging debate and upheld the Aadhaar Act, it is important to see how the provisions and amendments pan out in future.

Picture credit- India.com

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