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Aadhar Card Not Mandatory for Government Benefits: Supreme Court of India

 24-SEP-2013

Suggested Readings: 2013 Current Affairs, September 2013 Current Affairs, National | India

The Supreme Court of India on 23 September 2013 held that Aadhaar cards or Unique Identification number (UID) will not be mandatory for availing services or benefits under Government schemes like LPG subsidy, transfer benefits, food security, vehicle registration, scholarships, marriage registration, salaries and provident fund etc.


The court's order came on a petition protesting the issuance of Aadhaar cards to illegal migrants.

Direction given by SC to the Union Government regarding Aadhaar card


• While issuing Aadhaar card Government should verify whether the person is an Indian citizen or not.
• These cards cannot be issued to illegal migrants.
• Aadhaar not compulsory for Government benefits.

Arguments

 Bench of justice B S Chauhan and justice S A Bobde said that even in Aadhaar issuing guidelines prepared by UIDIA mentioned that Aadhaar card is voluntary. Bench also asked the Union Government, on what basis Aadhaar card made mandate for Government services.

The petitioner, Puttaswamy Karnataka High Court judge told the bench that Aadhaar scheme is unconstitutional, there is no legal base for this scheme. For giving Aadhaar card they will collect biometric information and individual details. It violates right to privacy of individuals. Supreme Court interpreted in different situations that right to privacy is a fundamental right (article 21) under the Constitution of India.

But the law officers of government solicitor general Mohan Parasaran and additional solicitor general L Nageswar Rao argued that centre never gave any direction regarding Aadhaar card mandate for government benefits. They also argued that Aadhaar card was voluntary and not mandatory.

Recently Delhi and Maharashtra made Aadhaar must for all the government facilities like bank account, cash transfer and new gas connection etc. The direction may impact the Governments who are planning to implement the schemes like cash transfer and subsidies directly by linking Aadhaar card with their bank account number.

Main Objective of UIDIA Scheme

• Unique identification project was initially started by the Planning Commission as an initiative that would provide identification for each resident across the country.
• It would be used primarily as the basis for efficient delivery of welfare services. It would also act as a tool for effective monitoring of various programs and schemes of the Government.
• The government also created and approved the position of the Chairperson of the UIDAI.
•Mr. Nandan Nilekani appointed first Chairpersonof UIDIA and he holds the rank and status of Cabinet Minister.

About Aadhaar Card

• Adhaar is a unique Identification number issued by UIDAI to individuals for the purpose of establishing unique identification of every single person. It serves as the proof of identity and address any where in India.
• Aadhaar is a 12-digit number.
• Aadhaar is not a compulsory, it is voluntary based.
• The Aadhaar number can be used while opening a bank account, applying for passport, booking, e-tickets and many other places where there is a need to give your identity.

Comment

Some eminent persons argued that data collection should be done through Ministry insisted identity number i.e.National Population Register (NPR). The National Population Register is a comprehensive identity database to be maintained by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India , Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India .



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