NEW DELHI: As the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar but suggested several modifications, the Congress and the Trinamool Congress claimed that the decision is a big jolt to the Central government. After the modifications, Aadhaar will no longer be required to open bank accounts, admissions in schools or for getting mobile phone connections.
The Congress welcomed the decision to strike down the "draconian" Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act which allows private entities to demand the unique identity document from citizens for the purpose of identification. "We welcome the Supreme Court's decision to strike down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act. Private entities are no longer allowed to use Aadhaar for verification purposes (sic)," the party said in a tweet soon after the apex court read out the judgement.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the next step needs to be to destroy the citizen's data already collected by the government under the Aadhaar Act. "The Modi government's draconian Section 57 quashed - bank account, mobile, school, airlines, travel agents, private entities requiring Aaadhar data quashed. Time to take next step to destroy the citizen's data collected now," he tweeted.
TMC also applauded the judgement adding that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had always been critical of the unique identity document. "Mamata Banerjee had issued an open challenge on Aadhaar. Our stance has been vindicated. I'm glad the SC said what it said. On data privacy and data protection, that's also something we need to take a close look at, so the BJP can't make it into a policed state," Rajya Sabha MP and TMC leader Derek O'Brien said.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra on Wednesday held that Aadhaar will remain mandatory for the filing of IT returns and allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN) but will no longer be essential for the creation of bank accounts and to get SIM cards.
It will also not be mandatory for school admissions, or for examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Examination, National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical entrance and the University Grants Commission.