Aadhaar Card not mandatory for NEET, says SC in its interim order


In a big relief for aspirants, Supreme Court in an interim order has said that Aadhaar is not mandatory for students to enrol in National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) and other competitive exams.

A five-judge Constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan had agreed with the contention of Venugopal.

Besides Aadhaar, the candidates for NEET exams can furnish their passport, voter ID or driving licence, or ration card or give their bank account number as proof of identity.

The bench then called the Attorney General for assistance in the matter.

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Earlier, Datar questioned the legality of making Aadhaar mandatory, saying the state can not say that all one billion bank account holders in the country were suspect.

The Unique Identification Authority of India told the court that it has not asked the CBSE to insist on Aadhaar for students aspiring to appear for under-graduate entrance examinations.

On February 27, the Gujarat High Court dismissed a plea challenging the CBSE's decision seeking Aadhaar number or Aadhaar enrolment number from those desiring to appear for the NEET. The five-judge bench passed this as an interim order. The current deadline is less than a month away and the aadhaar case is unlikely to be decided in the apex court before that.

The decision was challenged in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, which maintained that no separate appeal was necessary in the matter and allowed Datar to bring it to the court's notice.

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Another senior advocate, K.V. Viswanathan, complained that there was all-round panic in the country, particularly in the financial markets, as banks and other financial agencies were threatening people with disruption of services if Aadhaar linkage was not done by March 31.

The Supreme Court indicated that it might pass appropriate directions on March 14 extending the deadline fixed by the Centre for linking of Aadhaar cards to bank accounts, mobile phones, insurance policies and other services.

"The deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes is March 31".

Attorney-General KK Venugopal, in response to the petitioners' arguments, told the apex court that the Centre had earlier extended the deadline and could do it again.

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