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SC upholds constitutional validity of Aadhaar, strikes down certain provisions

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17 2018 shows an Indian woman getting her fingerprints read during the registration process for Aadhaar cards in Amritsar. — AFP

After the verdict was pronounced, Congress national spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi welcomed the decision and said the top court protected the "brilliant idea" of the Aadhaar, which was originally proposed by the UPA government.

The apex court has struck down Section 33 (2) of the 2016 Aadhaar Act, which permits disclosure of authentication information to the government on grounds of "national security". He stated that it may be politically expedient but is constitutionally impermissible. The top court said that seeking Aadhaar details does not violate the right to privacy.

The court has also partially struck down Section 33 (1) of the Act that allowed disclosure of Aadhaar information to a district judge.

A girl waits for her turn to enrol for the Unique Identification (UID) database system, also known as Aadhaar, at a registration centre in New Delhi, India, January 17, 2018. Now, banks, telephone service providers can not insist on Aadhaar.

Among other objectives, the project aims for a unique Aadhaar number, tied to an individual's iris scan and fingerprints, to help block theft and leakages in India's $23.6-billion-a-year food welfare programme.

In his judgment, Justice Chandrachud differed with Justice Sikri, saying the Aadhaar bill could not have been passed as a Money Bill.

Children: As an extension of this, the majority opinion says that the Aadhaar can not be made mandatory for school admission or benefits under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. "Aadhaar eliminates any chance of de-duplication", he said. Section 57 essentially allowed not only the State but also any "body corporate or person" or private entity to demand Aadhaar.

The linking of Aadhaar to mobile numbers has been struck down in the ruling by the Supreme Court.

In a statement, released by Congress leaders Kapil Sibal, Ashok Gehlot and Randeep Singh Surjewala, the party said it was the first time that a Constitutional Bench had unanimously agreed that the decisions of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha could be subject to judicial review. The verdict has also exposed the Congress, he claimed.

He emphasised that there is fundamental difference between the Aadhaar and other identity proofs.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Aadhaar card is not needed for school admissions and mobile phone connections, neither it is mandatory for opening of bank account.

In a path-breaking ruling on 24 August, 2017, the apex court held privacy to be a fundamental right, setting stage for Aadhaar to be tested against it. "From day one Mamata Banerjee and TMC's views on Aadhaar have been consistent, well-articulated and well known".

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