The Centre suffered a setback on Wednesday after the Supreme Court declined it to allow voluntary use of Aadhaar number for welfare schemes and projects other than the public distribution system (PDS) and LPG scheme.
A bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar said it had already referred petitions challenging the Aadhaar scheme to a constitution bench, which shall first determine if right to privacy was a constitutional right or not.
The court made it clear that any request to modify, clarify or relax the top court’s August 11 interim order restricting the use of Aadhaar shall be heard by the constitution bench.
“We are of the opinion that it is better that these applications for modification are also heard by a larger bench,” the three-judge bench ordered.
Under the scheme, every person is to be provided with a 12-digit unique identification number for which biometric information is collected.
So far 92 crore people have been covered under the scheme, which according to the government is a voluntary exercise.
The Centre, Unique Identification Authority of India, Gujarat government, RBI, SEBI, TRAI and Insurance regulator wanted the top court to relax its interim order and allow them to link the 12-digit unique identity number to other projects as well.
However, the bench questioned the maintainability of the applications on the ground that the constitution bench was to decide the larger issue.
Legality of Aadhaar has been challenged on the ground that collection of biometric details invades the privacy of a citizen.