The apex court's five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said Aadhaar will not be required for opening bank accounts, admissions in schools or for getting mobile connections. The court however upheld Section 139AA, mandating its linkage with PAN and filing of Income Tax returns.
The government had made it mandatory for verifying bank account and PAN to weed out black money and bring unaccounted wealth to book. The same for SIM was mandated to establish identify of mobile phone users.
Following the SC verdict the DoT notification for making Aadhaar mandatory for mobile connections becomes unconstitutional. "Mobile phone has become important feature of life and its seeding with Aadhaar poses grave threat to privacy, liberty, autonomy," said Justice Chandrachud.
There are three sets of judgements being pronounced on the issue. The first of the three verdicts was pronounced by Justice A K Sikri who wrote the judgement for himself, CJI and Justice A M Khanwilkar. Justice Chandrachud and Justice A Bhushan, who are part of the bench, have written their individual opinions.
SC has also struck down the section 57 of Aadhaar Act, as a result of which, private companies cannot ask for Aadhaar card. The top court said Aadhaar is serving much bigger public interest and Aadhaar means unique and it is better to be unique than being best.
However, no person will be denied benefits under social welfare scheme because of the failure of authentication through Aadhaar, the judges said.
The verdict has been pronounced on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar scheme and its enabling 2016 law.