SC blow to Narendra Modi government; Aadhaar not mandatory for welfare schemes, says top court

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New Delhi | Updated: March 27, 2017 11:58:24 AM

The Supreme Court on Monday said that the Narendra Modi government cannot make Aadhaar 'mandatory for extending' benefits of its various social welfare schemes.

 aadhaar, aadhaar mandatory, aadhaar not mandatory, supreme court, supreme court on aadhaar, welfare schemes, aadhaar card news, how to make aadhaar, narendra modi, modi government, The Supreme Court on Monday said that the Narendra Modi government cannot make Aadhaar ?mandatory for extending? benefits of its various social welfare schemes. (PTI)

The Supreme Court on Monday said that the Narendra Modi government cannot make Aadhaar ‘mandatory for extending’ benefits of its various social welfare schemes. The apex court, however, observed that the Government can use Aadhaar in other schemes like opening of bank accounts. The top court also said that a 7-judge bench has to be set up to hear the pleas challenging Aadhaar but right now it is not possible. Notably, Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) after collecting biometric data of citizens.

The government’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for subsidised foodgrains through public distribution system (PDS) earlier came under the scanner of the Delhi High Court. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal issued notice to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and sought their response before the next date of hearing on April 24. The bench also sought the stand of the Delhi government on the plea which seeks disbursal of subsidised foodgrains to the beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), without asking for Aadhaar.

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The public interest litigation (PIL) has sought quashing of the Centres February 8 notification, making it mandatory to have an Aadhaar card for availing benefits under NFSA, saying it violates the basic principle of law enshrinerd in Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution. The Centre has given time to those people who do not have the biometric-based unique identification number to apply for Aadhaar by June 30.

The notification came into effect from February 8 in all states and UTs, except Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu and Kashmir.

Meawhile, all existing subscribers of mobile services will have to go for Aadhaar-based re-verification soon, with the government instructing telecom operators to initiate the process. Cellular operators’ body COAI had said its members may meet this week to discuss the modalities of rolling out the verification process for the existing one billion-plus mobile phone users. “…all licencees shall re-verify all existing mobile subscribers (pre-paid and postpaid) through Aadhaar-based eKYC process…,” a notification issued by the telecom department said.

(With agency inputs)

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