In a much-awaited judgement, the Supreme Court today declared that Aadhaar is constitutionally valid, but it is not mandatory for all services. This means that you no longer need to link your bank account or mobile number with Aadhaar. It is also no longer compulsory to give Aadhaar number for school admissions. The top court said that seeking Aadhaar details does not violate the right to privacy. Aadhaar must be linked with the welfare schemes and government subsidies to avail their benefits, the top court said, adding that when children become adults, they can opt out from these facilities.
Here’s a lowdown on what the Aadhaar verdict means for you:
Aadhaar is compulsory for filing Income Tax return, so you must link it with your PAN number. PAN-Aadhaar linking deadline is March 31, 2019.
Aadhaar-Welfare Schemes Linking:
If you wish to avail the benefits from government’s welfare schemes and subsidies, you must link them with Aadhaar.
Aadhaar-phone number linking:
It is no longer compulsory to link your phone number with Aadhaar, so the messages from the telecom service providers to link Aadhaar can safely be ignored.
Aadhaar-Bank Account Linking:
You are no longer required to link your bank accounts with Aadhaar.
Aadhaar for Private Companies:
The Supreme Court has barred sharing of information with private corporate bodies.
Aadhaar for school admissions:
Aadhaar is not compulsory for school admissions and no child can be denied benefits of any schemes for not producing Aadhaar.
Aadhaar linking for exams:
For CBSE, NEET and other university exams, Aadhaar is no longer mandatory.
Aadhaar is a unique 12-digit identification number issued to individuals by the UIDAI after storing their biometrics data. The UIDAI uses iris and fingerprint scans to obtain bio-metric data from an applicants and stores it in a database. It was launched in India in 2009 to streamline welfare payments and reduce wastage in public spending.
Over one billion Indians have already signed up for Aadhaar. The Unique Identification Number was earlier made compulsory for bank accounts, PAN cards, cellphone services, passport and even driving licenses as an overarching proof of identity and residence. The petitioners that challenged the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar card were debating in court on fundamental issues of privacy, surveillance, data protection, consent and legislative processes.