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The Supreme Court on Wednesday declared the Centre’s flagship Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid even as it struck down some of the provisions of the 12-digit unique identification number, like linking of the number with bank accounts and mobile phones. 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.

The bench also struck down the national security exception under the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016. It said Aadhaar is meant to help the benefits reach the marginalised sections of society and takes into account the dignity of people not only from personal but also community point of view. The top court said Aadhaar is serving a much bigger public interest. Aadhaar means unique and it is better to be unique than being best.

There are three sets of judgments which were pronounced. The first of the three verdicts was pronounced by Justice AK Sikri who wrote the judgment for himself, CJI and Justice AM Khanwilkar. Justice Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan, who are part of the bench have written their own judgments. Justice Sikri struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act which permits private entities to avail Aadhaar data and ruled that Aadhaar authentication data cannot be stored for more than six months. It directed the government not to give Aadhaar to illegal immigrants.

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