The Telegraph
Monday , March 24 , 2014
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Supreme Court boots out govt bid to make Aadhar mandatory for services, restricts sharing of biometric data

New Delhi, Mar 24 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Union government to immediately withdraw instructions, if any, issued by it for making the Aadhaar card mandatory for citizens to avail themselves of government services.

“If there are any instructions that Aadhaar is mandatory, it should be withdrawn immediately” a bench of justices B S Chauhan and J Chelameswar said while staying the order of the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court directing sharing of data collected for issuing Aadhaar card to citizens with the Central Bureau of Investigation for solving a rape case.

The bench said biometric or any other data should not be shared with any authorities unless the accused gives consent in writing.

The probe agency had sought the database, including biometrics of persons from Goa, so that those could be compared with the ones obtained from the crime scene for the purpose of investigating rape of a minor girl in a school premises in Vasco.

In its interim order in September 2013, the apex court had said Aadhaar card should not be made mandatory for people for availing themselves of government services and nobody should be deprived of such facilities for want of the card.

The bench passed the order on a petition filed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) challenging the High Court order, which asked it to consider sharing biometric data collected from people with the CBI in order to help the investigating agency solve a rape case in Vasco.

The High Court had, in a February 26 interim order, directed the Director-General, Central Forensic & Scientific Laboratory (CFSL), New Delhi, to appoint an expert to ascertain if its database has the technological capability for matching the chance fingerprints electronically obtained.

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