Aadhaar not mandatory for NEET: SC tells CBSE


The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the Centre's position on a petition challenging the Central Board of Secondary Education's (CBSE) decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, passed the interim order after hearing a plea filed by one, Abid Ali Patel, from Gujarat.

However, Mr. Venugopal subsequently changed tack and said the UIDAI had never authorised the CBSE to issue this notification making Aadhaar mandatory for NEET aspirants.

The court said the CBSE, which conducts the exam, should accept alternative proofs of identity such as passport, driving licence and voter identity card instead of insisting on Aadhaar cards.

As justice Sikri agreed the case might take time to be decided, the attorney general said the government had in the past extended the deadline and it was ready for the same but not immediately.

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Toward the end of today's hearing, Venugopal appeared before the bench and made the statement about the possibility of extension of the deadline.

This news will come as a huge relief for users who're yet to link their Aadhaar with mobile number and bank accounts. He pleaded that an interim order be passed extending the deadline from March 31 to at least April 30. The deadline for mandatory linkage has now been extended to 31 March, 2018.

Explaining the rationale behind CBSE asking for identity for enrolment of students appearing for NEET or other all-India examination, Attorney General K K Venugopal said it was to curb large-scale impersonation. Patel further cited the pending petitions before the top court which have challenged the legality of Aadhaar. But, contrary to this the Prevention of Money Laundering Act makes a citizen duty bound to get Aadhaar. The Centre is considering the move to extend the deadline and the same was informed by the Narendra Modi-led government to the Supreme Court on Tuesday. He will resume his arguments on Wednesday.