The Supreme Court on Monday directed the government to ensure all states complied with its order not to make possession of Aadhaar mandatory to avail social welfare benefits such as the direct benefit transfer of subsidies for LPG.
A bench, headed by justice J Chelameswar, refused to accept the Centre’s contention that states were in default and it was helpless in ensuring the September 23, 2013 order’s compliance. “You have imposed President’s rule in many states. You better write to them that non-compliance will have consequences,” the bench told solicitor general Ranjit Kumar.
“It is brought to our notice that in certain quarters, the Aadhaar card is being insisted upon by various authorities…We expect all to scrupulously adhere to our order,” the bench ordered while hearing a batch of petitions challenging the government’s January 2009 notification issued by now defunct Planning Commission to set-up the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for preparing Aadhar cards.
The PILs also raised fears that collection of data for Aadhaar without authorisation by law would seriously impinge on national security and an individual’s privacy.
In 2013, the SC said that no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card. Justice Chelameswar said the administration in Andhra Pradesh was insisting on Aadhar card for issuing receipts to those who paid cess. “If we feel it (the Aadhaar law) is contrary to citizen’s right we will say so,” the bench said, posting the matter for a hearing in mid-July.
Former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium and counsel Aishwaraya Rai, appearing for one of the PIL petitioners, complained that several states were asking for Aadhar even for registration of marriages and lease deeds.