The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) not to make Aadhaar number mandatory for students who wanted to register for the National Eligibility-cum- Entrance Test (NEET) and other all-India examinations.
A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, accepted the Centre’s contention that students may instead submit their passport, driving licence, bank account, Voters identity or ration card as proof of identity. It also directed the Centre to communicate the decision to the CBSE “so that they can upload the necessary information on their website so that students are not affected.”
However, the CBSE had made the Aadhaar number or Aadhaar enrolment number mandatory for students aspiring to take the NEET 2018. The deadline to register for NEET is March 9.
During a hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act, Senior Advocate Arvind Datar had brought it to the court’s notice that the students from Jammu & Kashmir, Assam and Meghalaya were permitted to provide other Government Identity proofs instead of Aadhaar.
Responding to Datar, Justice A K Sikri said: “They could not have done this. Our orders should continue.” In its December 15, 2017, order the court allowed extension of the last date for linking Aadhaar to all services to March 31.
In response, Attorney General K K Venugopal told the bench that his instruction was that the UIDAI had not authorised CBSE to make Aadhaar mandatory for students.
The Gujarat High Court had on February 27 dismissed a plea filed by a student against CBSE’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for NEET.
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.