The majority verdict by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri and A M Khanwilkar declared the Centre's flagship Aadhaar scheme constitutionally valid but struck down some of its provisions, including its linking with bank accounts, mobile phones and school admissions.
The ruling, however, did introduce several new restrictions on how Aadhaar information could be used, including new measures preventing corporate bodies such as banks and mobile phone companies from accessing information.
Section 57, meanwhile, permits private entities to avail Aadhaar data, which the court disallowed. Aadhaar is now mandatory for everyone who avails of any subsidies or benefits from the government. "Aadhaar eliminates any chance of de-duplication", he said. Previously in January 2018, a five-judge bench of the apex court began a fresh hearing on the Aadhaar case which went on to become the second-longest running hearing in the history of the Supreme Court - spanning 38 working days and almost five months. The Supreme Court had said in March that linking of the Aadhaar to PAN, bank accounts and mobile numbers is to be extended indefinitely till the judgment. The Aadhar authentication data can not be stored for more than six months, it added.
"Aadhaar is not needed for banking, but a must for PAN", the bench said.
So as per the court's verdict, private entities can not use Aadhaar information to authenticate the identity of the person. "This may affect the fintech as well as other financial companies which uses the only Aadhar as their identity verification mechanism", added Patel.
The Supreme Court verdict clearly upholds the Aadhaar Act as not being unconstitutional and the act of collecting biometric data as not being illegal. The case was heard for 38 days.
Identity theft crimes and cyber impersonation would have clearly become the new modus operandi and it would have be very hard to investigate such cases and also prove guilt in a court of law.
The apex court added that CBSE, NEET, UGC can not make Aadhaar mandatory, also not compulsory for school admissions.
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 Supreme Court later clarified that it had never given any such order. Today's SC judgement has now sealed the legitimacy of Aadhaar, while restricting the scope of its uses - a balanced decision overall.
In a unanimous verdict, the court concludes the Nagaraj judgement does not need to be referred to a larger bench.