Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Aadhaar not a must for NEET, Centre tells Supreme Court

Indian Government Tells Supreme Court That It Might Extend March 31 Deadline For Aadhaar Linkage Mandatory Aadhaar Linking To Bank Accounts, Welfare Services May Be Extended Beyond March 31
Ben Pena | 08 March, 2018, 05:08

The Supreme Court yesterday said the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will not insist on Aadhaar identification for NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) and other all-India examinations.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that it may not be possible to decide by March 31 the batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act since the arguments in the matter would prolong.

The Government of India has earlier kept the deadline to link Aadhar Card with various services like mobile number, bank account, PAN card and others as 31 March 2018.

However, Mr. Venugopal subsequently changed tack and said the UIDAI had never authorised the CBSE to issue this notification making Aadhaar mandatory for NEET aspirants.

The Supreme Court, in its interim order, on Wednesday said that Aadhaar card was not a compulsory or mandatory identity proof for taking NEET 2018 examinations, and it also held that any alternative identity proofs like voters identity cards, driving licences could be used in any such kind of all India entrance examinations.

As justice Sikri agreed the case might take time to be decided, the attorney general said the government had in the past extended the deadline and it was ready for the same but not immediately.

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Venugopal however told the court that no statement on extension would be required today. Currently, the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail the benefits of various welfare schemes is March 31. Justice Chandrachud asked Venugopal, who did not respond.

The government has decided to make the linking of Aadhaar numbers to bank accounts and mobile numbers mandatory. The current deadline was extended back in December 2017 as the original deadline was February 6, 2018, for mobile numbers.

He said the Aadhaar Bill does not meet the requirements specified under sub-clause (a) to (f) and is not incidental to them, adding that Money Bill derogates the powers of Rajya Sabha to vote on it and can only make recommendation which the Lok Sabha may or may not accept.

Justice Chandrachud said even if the court reserved its verdict on 20 March, banks and other institutions would have only 10 days left to implement Aadhaar verification, which might be hard.

Arguments in Aadhaar matter from petitioners side remained inconclusive and would continue on March 13.

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