New Delhi, March 27, 2017: It was made clear by the Supreme Court today made it clear that the government cannot make Aadhaar cards mandatory as well as its agencies for extending benefits of social welfare schemes.
However, a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul, stated that government and its agencies cannot be stopped from seeking Aadhaar cards for certain non-welfare schemes such as opening of bank accounts.
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The bench also mentioned that a seven-judge bench needed to be formed for authoritatively looking into a batch of petitions that challenge the Aadhaar scheme on grounds including that it infringes on the Right to Privacy of citizens.
However, the inability in setting up of the seven-judge bench was expressed saying the decision will be made at a later stage.
It was alleged by senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for one of the petitioners that the Central government is not following the various orders that the apex court has passed regarding the fact that the usage of Aadhaar would be voluntary and not mandatory.
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On August 11, 2015, the apex court had stated that Aadhaar card will not be mandatory for availing benefits of the welfare schemes of the government and prohibited the authorities from sharing personal bio-metric data collected for enrollment under the scheme.
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However, on October 15, 2015 its earlier restriction had been lifted and the voluntary use of Aadhaar cards in welfare schemes was permitted that included MGNREGA, all pension schemes and the provident fund besides ambitious flagship programmes like ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna’ of the NDA government.
– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang