In a big relief to students, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that it is not mandatory to provide Aadhaar to register or appear for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), University Grants Commission (UGC) and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) exams.
While pronouncing the verdict, Justice Sikri said, "CBSE, NEET, UGC making Aadhaar mandatory is bad and they cannot do so. For the enrollment of children, it would be essential to have the consent of parents." The apex court added that Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory for school admissions as well.
Though the apex court upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, it also struck down some sections of the Act.
The five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra said that "education has taken us from thumb impression to signature, now technology has taken us from signature to thumb impression". The bench headed by Dipak Misra included Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud & Ashok Bhushan.
For enrollment of children in Aadhaar it would be essential to have consent of parents. While attaining age of 18, they will be given of choice to exit, the court said.
The top court observed that Aadhaar is secure and unique. "It is better to be unique than the best. Aadhaar has become the most talked about expression in the recent years," Justice AK Sikri said.
Earlier this year, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had stayed a CBSE notification that made Aadhaar or its enrolment proof mandatory to register or appear for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2018. The court had ordered the CBSE, the authority which conducts NEET, to upload the apex court order on its website.