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The Aadhaar Verdict

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the validity of India’s ambitious biometric identity project, ‘Aadhaar’, saying it benefited the marginalized and poor, but sharply reined in a government push to make it mandatory for various services. In a ruling with far-reaching consequences, a panel of five judges cleared the use of Aadhaar for welfare schemes, saying it empowered the poor and marginalized. A majority of the panel ruled the programme had merits, but struck down provisions in the act that made its use mandatory in applications for services ranging from bank accounts to mobile telephone connections and school admissions. The court also ruled unconstitutional the use of Aadhaar by companies to establish an individual’s identity.

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