Aadhaar Linking Not Necessary For Bank Accounts, Phones For Now: SC

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Aadhaar card is considered as the world’s largest biometric ID system, with over 1.19 billion enrolled Indians.

In fact, for people living in this country, Aadhaar card has become as one of the main documents for proving one’s identity. Aadhaar was introduced in the county in the year 2009 to keep an eye on welfare payments and reduce wastage in public spending.

Since then, the government of Prime Minister Modi has been making the use of Aadhaar mandatory by asking the public for linking it to everything from filing income tax to the registration of mobile phone numbers and booking railway tickets.

In fact, Aadhaar is now mandatory for welfare, pension and employment schemes. In a new ruling by the supreme court in the Aadhar Card to be not made mandatory until the Supreme Court decides it to be.

According to the supreme court ruling, Aadhaar will no longer be mandatory for services like banking, cellphone connections and tatkal passport till a decision will be taken on the matter, the Supreme Court said today, extending the March 31 deadline to link the Unique Identification number indefinitely.

A five-judge Constitution bench — comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan — is currently hearing the petitioners in the case. A group of petitioners have asked the Supreme Court to declare the government’s insistence on Aadhaar disclosure as a violation of the right to privacy.

In August 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that privacy is a fundamental right, but made it clear that the decision on the constitutional validity of Aadhaar would be taken separately. Critics are worried about repeated data breaches that have been occurring for a few months now.

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They also say that the ID card links have enough data to create a full profile of a person’s spending habits, their friends, property among other sensitive information about a person.Now only after hearing the petitioners, the government will respond. A final judgment in this case, therefore, is unlikely before the end of this month.

The court made a ruling that a biometric ID is still necessary for accessing social welfare schemes and subsidies, but till it decides on whether the government’s demand for Aadhaar to be linked to private and public services is a violation of the right to privacy. Hence, the 12-digit unique number given to each citizen does not have to be linked to other services.

Certain ambiguity has been remained in the citizens living all over the country that whether Aadhaar will be required for social schemes like a subsidy for LPG cylinders, MGNREGA and midday meals among others. However, these doubts can only be cleared out once the final order is released by the court.

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