Aadhaar card cannot be made mandatory by the government to give out benefits from its welfare schemes, the Supreme Court has observed. The court, however, added that the government cannot be stopped from making it mandatory for opening bank accounts.
The observations come at a time a seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court is set to hear a matter challenging Aadhaar. The government had told the court that none will be deprived of benefits if they do not have an Aadhaar card.
The government clarified that until an Aadhaar number if assigned, people can use alternative means of identification to receive government benefits. The Centre also directed departments to provide Aadhaar enrolment facilities to beneficiaries under Regulation 12 of the Aadhaar (Enrolment and Update) Regulations 2016.
It may be recalled that on October 15, 2015, the court had lifted restrictions and permitted the voluntary use of Aadhaar cards for welfare schemes such as pension and MGNREGA.