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What happens to Aadhaar data already collected by mobile companies, banks

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New Delhi, Sep 26: In the Aadhaar verdict delivered today, one of the key highlights was the striking down of Section 57 of the Act. As a result of this no private players can seek Aadhaar data in order for their services to be availed.

What happens to Aadhaar data already collected by mobile companies, banks

This means banks can't ask you to link your account with Aadhaar and neither can players like Airtel or Jio among others can insist on your unique identification details.

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While Section 57 has been struck down, there is no clarity what so ever on what happens to the data that has already been collected. This is surely a cause for concern since Aadhaar data has been collected in humongous proportions.

Reliance Jio has performed 62 million Aadhaar fingerprint authentications this month alone. Airtel comes second with 44 million, while third and fourth on the list are Vodafone and Idea. Paytm on the other hand has done a total of 98 million authentications on Aadhaar.

Justice D Y Chandrachud observed that seeding mobile phones with Aadhaar posed a grave danger to individual liberty. He instructed that telecom operators should delete all data that they have collected from the users. However the point is that Chandrachud's judgment is the minority view. The majority view (3:2) only struck down Section 57, but did not make any mention about deletion of data. It is the majority view that would be in force as per the norms.

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There is also no mention on whether users can go back to the mobile companies and seek deletion of their data. Legal experts that OneIndia spoke with say that this is something that the majority on the Bench should have clarified.

Going to a High Court and seeking a directive regarding the deletion of data is not an option. The High Courts are unlikely to interfere considering that the verdict they are dealing with has been delivered by the Supreme Court. Users could however cite the observation made by Justice Chandrachud and seek an interpretation of the same before the High Court.

Aadhaar Infographic

Legal experts say that the best option would be to go back to the Supreme Court and seek a clarification of the same. There is no need to file a review petition, but a clarification can be sought say legal experts.

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This would not apply only to mobile companies alone. Banks cannot seek linking of Aadhaar and hence data would need to be deleted there as well. The case would be similar in the case of Paytm or Amazon pay balance as well.

What Section 57 said:

"Nothing contained in this Act shall prevent the use of Aadhaar number for establishing the identity of an individual for any purpose, whether by the State or any body corporate or person, pursuant to any law, for the time being in force, or any contract to this effect: Provided that the use of Aadhaar number under this section shall be subject to the procedure and obligations under section 8 and Chapter V."

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