The Supreme Court on Thursday gave assurance to the Centre and others about setting up a larger bench by Friday to hear their pleas seeking modification of its interim order restricting the voluntary use of Aadhaar card to PDS and LPG schemes only.
“Please give me time till tomorrow evening. Let me decide it. The question is that I have to spare nine judges for this. What will happen to other matters?” a bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu said when attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi sought urgent hearing of various applications for modification of its August 11 order.
“All social benefit schemes of the government are being affected. We seek the modification that the Aadhaar be allowed to be used voluntarily for the benefit of the poor and aged groups,” the AG said, referring to the importance of Aadhaar in schemes like MNREGA and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.
Even senior lawyers, including K K Venugopal and Harish Salve, suggested that instead of a nine-judge bench, a five-judge bench could be constituted to decide the applications seeking modifications.
The apex court had on Wednesday declined to modify its August 11 interim order as sought by the Centre, various regulatory bodies like RBI, Sebi and Trai, and some states.
As of now, the much-hyped Aadhaar card will not be used for opening bank accounts and getting new phone connections. The ambitious unique identification number (UID) scheme can be used only for availing subsidies under the PDS and purchasing kerosene and cooking gas and that, too, voluntarily.