The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that Aadhaar can not be made mandatory for submitting forms for the national medical entrance test, frowned on alleged coercion by utilities and dropped a loud hint on extending the March 31 deadline for linking the cards to various services.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said this while referring to an earlier order by which the government had undertaken that it will not insist on Aadhaar-only identification till the top court decides on petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar.
Attorney General K.K.Venugopal submitted that he had instructions from UIDAI that in some states such as Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya and Assam other identity proofs could be used by CBSE for registering students for the examination.
The bench then called the Attorney General for assistance in the issue.
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The government has decided to make the linking of Aadhaar numbers to bank accounts and mobile numbers mandatory.
However, the CBSE had made the Aadhaar number or Aadhaar enrolment number mandatory for students aspiring to take the NEET 2018.
One, Abid Ali Patel, from Gujarat has moved the apex court seeking to stay on the orders of CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education). The Bench passed the order after hearing Senior Advocates Vibha Dutta Makhija and Arvind P. Datar and Advocate Abhinav Jain.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal initially tried to reason that the Supreme Court orders on the voluntary nature of Aadhaar preceded the Aadhaar Act of 2016.
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The government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it might consider extending the March 31 deadline for linking Aadhaar to various government schemes as well as mobile phones and bank accounts.
However, the attorney general said the students, who meant to register for NEET examination and other all-India examination, need not necessarily produce the Aadhar number for now. But the decision has been challenged in the Supreme Court. "Even UCO bank in SC premises refused to take fixed deposit of senior advocate Shyam Divan for want of Aadhaar".
Responding to Datar, Justice A K Sikri said: "They could not have done this".
The petitioners said the deadline was nearing and the case was unlikely to be decided by 31 March.
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