The Supreme Court on Wednesday held that Aadhaar is not mandatory for registering or appearing for NEET or any other national examinations. The Aspirants can Voter ID, Passport, Driving License, Bank Account book for the purpose.
The Constitution Bench has passed the interim order during the hearing of Aadhaar Case.
Senior Advocates Arvind P. Datar and Vibha Dutta Makhija have brought to the notice of the Court that the Central Board of Secondary Education (C.B.S.E.) has passed an order directing all the students to produce Aadhar number to register themselves for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) examination.
Attorney General KK Venugopal has submitted that the students who intend to register in the said Board for NEET examination and for any other All India examinations, need not necessarily produce the Aadhar number for the present, but they may be asked to produce any alternative identification number, such as ration card, passport, voter ID, driving licence and bank account.
The bench has accepted the submission and directed to communicate with the C.B.S.E. to upload the necessary information on their website so that students are not affected.
Another petition was also filed challenging the Gujarat High Court's refusal to grant interim relief on a petition demanding exemption for students from submitting Aadhaar number while appearing for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test Unit, 2018 (NEET). Dismissing the Petition filed by Abidali Yusufbhai Patel, the High Court had noted that the issue of linking Aadhaar to various schemes is currently pending before the Supreme Court.
Mr. Patel has, however, now approached the Apex Court, relying on earlier orders passed by the Supreme Court, wherein it had directed that during the pendency of the petitions before it, no person should suffer due to lack of an Aadhaar number.
The Petition contends that insistence on disclosure of Aadhaar number for taking the exam would amount to violation of the right to privacy, as upheld by the Apex Court. It further points out that the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has permitted students from Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Meghalaya to apply for NEET without submitting their Aadhaar numbers. This, it contends, amounts to "blatant discrimination between similarly placed students".
It then lists down the following questions of law for consideration by the Court:
"(a) Whether the impugned Order is contrary to the Order dated 23-09-2013 passed by this Hon’ble Court in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 494 / 2012 and Order dated 24-03-2014 passed by this Hon’ble Court in Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 2524 / 2014, wherein this Hon’ble Court has categorically directed that till the time the Writ Petition (Civil) No. 494 / 2012, is disposed-off by this Hon’ble Court, no person or individual shall suffer for lack of Aadhar Number?
(b) Whether the Respondents are in contempt of the Order/s passed by this Hon’ble Court?
(c) Whether the insistence on Aadhar Number or Aadhar Enrolment Application Number is in breach of the “Right To Privacy” as upheld by this Hon’ble Court?
(d) Whether by not mandating Aadhar Number or Aadhar Enrolment Application Number for the students belonging to Jammu – Kashmir, Assam and Meghalaya; the Respondent No. 2 & 3 have not indulged in blatant discrimination between similarly placed students?
(e) Whether the Respondent No. 2 & 3 having permitted other Proof/s of Identity for all Students in 2016 – 2017 and other Proof/s of Identify for students belonging to Jammu – Kashmir, Assam and Meghalaya for 2017 – 2018 also, are not indulging in arbitrary, capricious and illegal exercise of power and authority vested in them?"