New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday made it clear that Aadhaar card is not mandatory for students appearing in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (for medical and dental admissions) in the country and they can produce other means of identity, viz ration card, voter identity card, driving licence, passport and bank passbook.
A five-judge constitution bench comprising the Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan passed this order after senior counsel Arvind P Datar brought to the notice of the court that the CBSE was insisting on production of Aadhaar card for students to appear in the NEET examination and this would deprive many students from taking the exam.
The Attorney General KK Venugopal informed the court that the government had not given any instruction to the CBSE to insist on Aadhaar as the students can produce any other form of identity.
On extending the linkage of Aadhaar for various services beyond March 31, the AG said though the government was willing to extend, it would argue on this point.
In a brief order, the bench said students appearing for NEET or any other all India competitive examination need not necessarily produce Aadhaar as they can produce any other identity for taking the examination.
The bench asked the counsel to inform the CBSE about this order so that the CBSE could upload this order in its website.
Datar also drew the court’s attention to the fact that despite an order passed by the constitution bench in December 2015 that Aadhaar should not be insisted upon except for availing six social security benefits, the government in violation of the order had been insisting on linking Aadhaar with bank accounts, telephones, insurance policies, mutual funds and these authorities are warning the subscribers that their accounts would be frozen if the linkage is not done. He urged the court to pass an order to extend the time limit for linking aadhaar with various services.
Justice Chandrachud questioned the Attorney General for not taking permission of the court for giving directions to extend Aadhaar for various services and said, “Is the Centre not bound to apply for variation of the order. Further time limit for linkages should be extended beyond March 31 as it is creating uncertainty in the minds of the banks and other institutions, which have to comply with the directions.”
Justice Sikri also wondered whether the government could have blindly extended Aadhaar for various services without seeking modification of the order.
The CJI told the counsel, “We would pass appropriate orders next week if the government does not extend the time limit on its own in the meantime.”