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Aadhaar not needed for Neet, UGC, CBSE and school admissions

For welfare schemes covered by Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, giving Aadhaar number would be “subject to the consent of parents”. Officials said the midday meal scheme is likely to be covered under the clause but meals cannot be denied if children are unable to furnish Aadhaar number.

india Updated: Sep 26, 2018 22:16 IST
HT Correspondent
Aadhaar,Neet,UGC
In so far as school admissions of children are concerned, requirement of Aadhaar would not be compulsory as it is neither a service nor subsidy, the Supreme Court said. (Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

Aadhaar will no longer be mandatory for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and other exams conducted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the Supreme Court said on Wednesday. It also held that there was no need to provide the 12-digit unique identification number for school admissions.

In its application form for 2018, CBSE, which conducts NEET, said: “All the Indian citizen candidates should possess Aadhaar card...” From next year, a National Testing Agency will conduct the test.

“In so far as school admissions of children are concerned, requirement of Aadhaar would not be compulsory as it is neither a service nor subsidy. Further, having regard to the fact that a child between the age of six and 14 years has the fundamental right to education... school admission cannot be treated as ‘benefit’ as well,” the top court held.

The SC also said, “Benefits to children between six and 14 years under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, likewise, shall not require mandatory Aadhaar enrolment.”

But for welfare schemes covered by Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, giving Aadhaar number would be “subject to the consent of the parents”. Officials said the Midday Meal scheme is likely to be covered under the clause but meals cannot be denied if children are unable to furnish Aadhaar number. “The verdict is being studied against each scheme and greater clarity will emerge soon,” said a senior HRD official requesting anonymity.

The SC also reiterated that “no child shall be denied benefit of any of these schemes if, for some reasons, she is not able to produce the Aadhaar number...”

The court said unless the government proved the scholarship money is drawn from the Consolidated Fund of India, it cannot insist on Aadhaar. “Funds for scholarships is largely drawn from the Consolidated Fund of India so, going by that, we can ask them to furnish Aadhaar but no one will be denied any benefits... They will be asked to show other proof of identity,” said an official.

“It is a big relief for parents as many schools in Delhi and NCR don’t even accept online application forms without Aadhaar number...,” said Sumit Vohra, who runs an admission portal.

First Published: Sep 26, 2018 22:16 IST