The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce on Monday its verdict on pleas seeking review of a verdict upholding the Centre’s flagship Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid but striking down some of its provisions, including its linking with bank accounts, mobile phones and school admissions. A five-judge bench, comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S A Nazeer and B R Gavai, will take up in-chambers a batch of review pleas challenging the September 26, 2018 verdict.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra held that while Aadhaar would remain mandatory for filing of Income Tax Return and allotment of the permanent account number (PAN), it would not be mandatory to link Aadhaar number to bank accounts and telecom service providers cannot seek its linking for mobile connections. In a 4-1 verdict that also quashed some contentious provisions of the Aadhaar Act, the top court, however, had held Aadhaar would be needed for availing facilities of welfare schemes and government subsidies.
Ruling that seeding of Aadhaar would not be required for opening bank accounts, availing mobile services, by CBSE, NEET, JEE, UGC and for admissions in schools and free education for children, the top court had observed that Aadhaar had also become a household name and that its use has spread like a “wildfire”. It had struck down as unconstitutional the portion of Section 57 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 that permitted private entities like telecom companies or other corporates to avail of the biometric Aadhaar data.
Justice D Y Chandrachud, who was part of the bench, had given a dissenting judgement in which he ruled the Aadhaar Act should not have been passed as a Money Bill as it amounts to fraud on the Constitution and is liable to be struck down. But the majority verdict by the other four judges, including the then CJI, upheld the passage of the Aadhaar Bill as Money Bill in Lok Sabha.