Erasing the sense of doubt about the legitimacy of Aadhaar card for availing benefits given by government, the Supreme Court on Monday affirmed that the Aadhar card is not mandatory, and further, authorities who demand them will be taken to task.
A seething Supreme Court issued a stern warning to the government on discovering that numerous government agencies still demand Aadhaar for giving subsidies and essential services to common citizens.
A Bench of Justices J. Chelameswar, S.A. Bobde and C. Nagappan elucidated that requests made by authorities for Aadhaar card is in clear violation of the Supreme Court's earlier order of September 23, 2013.
In the 2013 order, the Apex Court had said, “no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card, inspite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory”.
While hearing the matter today, Justice Chelameswar observed, “Aadhaar is being insisted upon by various authorities. We do not want to go into specific instances. We expect the Union of India and all the States to adhere to the order dated September 23, 2013. We will take the officers concerned to task if any order comes on record making it (Aadhaar) mandatory.”
Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Gopal Subramanium submitted to the Court“It is a matter of great public importance. The issue has serious implication in terms of Constitution. Notwithstanding the court's order, there is insistence for Aadhaar. There is complete apathy on the part of officials.” He also gave an example, Delhi government's notification on March 9, 2015 after which it is compulsory for couples to produce Aadhaar cards to get their marriage registered under the Special Marriage Act.
Senior advocate Anil Divan also submitted that Registrar of the Bombay High Court had received an official communication regarding Aadhar. The Registrar was asked to make Aadhar mandatory for disbursal of salary to staff and even judges.
After this, the Apex Court observed, “You better advise the States, if the officials insist, it would have consequences. We will take them to task. This is absolutely not right.”
Mr. Gopal Subramanium also questioned the mechanism of Aadhar, he said, “On the surface it (Aadhaar) is a simple document of identity, but it has linkages by means of iris scans and biometric details. God forbid if identities are exchanged or mistaken. the Executive's scheme involves private partners. Who are these private partners?” He also said, “Sovereign State also has the duty to protect its citizens, to protect his identity, his personal information against possible misuse.”
Meanwhile over 750 million Aadhar numbers have already been issued as the battle over validity of the card carries out in Supreme Court.
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