Aadhaar verdict big victory for pro-poor Modi govt: BJP

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Aadhaar was the BJP-led NDA government's flagship project, which they wanted to implement to ensure equal distribution of financial and other government subsidies, benefits and services.

The Congress Wednesday welcomed the Supreme Court decision to strike down Section 57 of the Aadhaar act, which allowed private parties to access Aadhaar data, and termed it a "slap on the face of BJP". Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Sambit Patra said the court has ruled that Aadhaar is safe.

The SC order will have implications for linking Aadhaar to government welfare and financial inclusion schemes, bank accounts and PAN cards, UID authentication by private entities and also address concerns over exclusion, privacy and security as regards storage and use of biometric data of 122 crore individuals now enrolled by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

The bench had on May 10 reserved the verdict on the matter after a marathon hearing that went on for 38 days, spanning four-and-half months.

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Justice Sikri struck down Section 57 of Aadhaar Act permitting private entities to avail Aadhaar data and ruled that Aadhaar authentication data can not be stored for more than six months. The Supreme Court will also pronounce on a petition by Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who has sought dismissal of a petition in Gujarat high court challenging his election to Rajya Sabha in August previous year. It agreed with the government's view that it has helped in uplifting the marginalised sections of society.

■ SC says it is not mandatory to link Aadhaar with bank accounts.

He said the court has noted that Aadhaar gives strength to the poor. Enrollment in the programme was also made necessary for filing tax returns through linking with PAN cards. The unique identity card will be used to avail the benefits of government welfare schemes. Infact, telecom companies have been ordered to delete all the Aadhaar details of their customers. Section 33 (2) which mandates disclosure of Aadhaar details for the purposes of national security was scrapped, as was Section 57, under which private companies are allowed to ask for a citizen's Aadhaar details in order to provide services. This has now been rolled back. CBSE, NEET and UGC also can not ask for these details.

It would also not be mandatory for school admissions, as also for the examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Examination, National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for medical entrance and the University Grants Commission.

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