Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Supreme Court refuses to modify its order on Aadhaar

Supreme Court refuses to modify
its order on Aadhaar
NEW DELHI:  In a jolt to the Centre, the Supreme Court today, 07th October 2015, refused to modify its interim order and allow bodies like RBI and SEBI and some states to allow voluntary use of Aadhaar card for welfare schemes other than the public distribution system (PDS) and LPG schemes. 

A bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar, which had already referred the batch of pleas challenging the Aadhaar scheme on the question of right to privacy, made it clear that all applications seeking "modification, clarification and relaxation" of its August 11 interim order will be heard by the constitution bench itself. 

"The Centre, RBI, SEBI, IRDA, TRAI, Pension Fund Regulatory Authority and states like Gujarat and Jharkhand had recently moved the court and pitched strongly for voluntary use of Aadhaar cards for providing benefits of various schemes, other than PDS and LPG, at the doorsteps of the aged and the weaker sections. 

At the outset, the bench had raised the question whether it can entertain such interim applications after transferring main petitions to a constitution bench to decide on issues like right to privacy. 

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi referred to the fact that as on August 21, over 90 crore citizens have already been issued Aahaar cards by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). 

He also said that since the apex court had said Aadhaar card was not mandatory, there should not be any problem in allowing it to be used on voluntarily basis to establish the identity of persons and make available the benefits of other welfare schemes as well. 

However, the pleas for relaxation of the August 11 order restricting the use of Aadhaar cards for PDS scheme and LPG distribution scheme, was opposed by those petitioners on whose PILs the apex court had said these cards will not be mandatory for availing benefits of welfare schemes. 

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