Others differ.

“Now, companies can’t ask for Aadhaar at all, not for any reason. If they try, they will face resistance again,” Prasanna S, a lawyer for petitioners in the Aadhaar cases before the supreme court, told Quartz.

Besides, private firms aren’t going to accept the court’s decision lying down. Already up in arms, businesses that fear disruptions have said the government must consider a legislation that reinstates their ability to ask for Aadhaar.

Costly court order

By leveraging eKYC norms instead of traditional documents—passport, voter ID, or driver’s licence—companies were saving time and money spent on customer verification.

“…till now, an eKYC verification and on-boarding cost Rs15 per person and soon the same verification will cost Rs100 for a physical KYC,” said Harshil Mathur, CEO and  co-founder of payments gateway Razorpay.

The 15-minute eKYC process, for instance, helped telecom giant Reliance Jio acquire close to a million customers a day. Re-verifying all those users will be a Herculean task.

No escape

The judgment has come even as many people were being strong-armed into the system: By the end of last year, 712 million of India’s one billion mobile subscribers had linked their phone numbers to Aadhaar; nearly 870 million bank accounts were linked by this March.

These people have no way out and it is as yet unclear what will happen to their data.

In his dissenting statement labelling the entire Aadhaar Act unconstitutional, justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud called upon telecom operators to delete all the Aadhaar data collected from their subscribers. However, his was not part of the majority opinion.

“The majority judgment does not talk about de-linking or deletion of data,” Lakshmanan said. “The data that has already been collected will probably not be entirely deleted but people can always walk in and get a new sim card without Aadhaar-linkage now.”

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