The Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, even as it struck down some of the contentious provisions on mandatory linking of the unique ID with various non-essential services.
After the Supreme Court verdict on Aadhaar in September, the cabinet has approved necessary changes to the Aadhaar law. This means that you will not have to link your bank account or mobile number with Aadhaar or give the 12-digit number for school admissions and other private services.
Lok Sabha passed The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018 to amend the laws relating to the use of Aadhaar and the powers of the Unique Identification Authority of India. The Bill seeks to amend at least 27 sections of the three existing laws: The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
It is a 4:1 split verdict by the five judges constitutional bench, with the lone dissenting judge, Justice Chandrachud holding Aadhaar constitutionally invalid, even as he called the government’s decision to present it as a money bill a fraud.
The changes follow the Supreme Court’s verdict of September 26, which upheld Aadhaar but limited its use for only certain subsidies and schemes funded by the Consolidated Fund of India, and disallowed private companies from asking for Aadhaar for authentication. The amendments seek to circumvent some of the restrictions imposed by the court.
The most important changes are to allow children the chance to exit the Aadhaar ecosystem once they turn 18 years old; expand the scope of Aadhaar being used by entities that was restricted by the Supreme Court; create a UIDAI fund; and provide legal backing for Aadhaar to be used voluntarily as proof of identity to open bank accounts and for mobile phone SIM cards.
You don’t need Aadhaar for a new mobile connection, bank account and school admissions from now on, although linking PAN with Aadhaar is compulsory. Aadhaar is also a must for filing tax returns and availing of various government subsidies.
That’s definitely some burden off.
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