In the last couple of months, we have all been flooded with text messages and emails asking us to link our Aadhaar numbers to almost every other service. So much so that the topic became the centre of jokes for standup comedians who satirized at the additional ‘homework’ given to the citizens by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
With the Supreme Court’s verdict on Wednesday, Aadhaar is finally set to serve its real and original purpose – give citizens a unique identity. In the landmark judgement, a five-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar card while negating the mandate to link it to every other service such as mobile, internet, and bank accounts. You will also not need an Aadhaar to appear for CBSE, NEET, or UGC examinations.
As per the verdict, it is mandatary to link Aadhaar only with your Pan card and the document will be necessary only to file income tax returns and while availing of welfare schemes and subsidies given by the government.
Let’s face it. The sole purpose of Aadhaar was to empower millions of Indians who needed an identity. It was never meant to harass individuals by going through the ordeal of running from pillar to post trying to link their cards to everything. The foundation or the vision of Aadhaar has come alive with the top court’s verdict.
The concerns over data privacy and misuse have also been cleared as the Supreme Court has stated in its verdict that individuals and corporates cannot collect Aadhaar data. The controversial section 33(2) of the Aadhaar Act, which makes an exception to the primacy of security of data of an individual and allows an officer of the rank of joint secretary to disclose it in matters of national security, has been struck down.
In a large and free democracy like India, a surveillance state would be the last thing one could ask for and the verdict indeed comes as a sigh of relief. It appears, finally Aadhaar will serve its true purpose of making the lives of citizens easier instead of making it difficult by mandating them to link and therefore share their unique identities with everything under the sun.
(The views expressed here are the author’s own and they do not reflect those of his company or associates)