SC refuses to modify order restricting use of Aadhaar cards

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New Delhi, Oct 7: In a jolt to the Centre, the Supreme Court today 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.

SC refuses to modify order restricting use of Aadhaar cards.
"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, which also comprised Justices S A Bobde and C Nagappan, said. On August 11, the apex court had said that Aadhaar card will remain optional for availing welfare schemes of the government and the authorities will not use it for the purposes other than PDS and LPG distribution system.

ALso read: How to apply for Aadhaar Card: Your complete guide

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.

PTI

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