SC: Withdraw Orders Making Aadhaar Must for any Service

In a clear direction that a person’s information is private and cannot be misused, the Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to withdraw immediately the instruction, if any, issued by it for making Aadhaar card mandatory for citizens to avail of government services and restrained the UIDAI from sharing personal details of any citizen with any investigating agency.

Published: 25th March 2014 07:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th March 2014 07:50 AM   |  A+A-

Aadhaar

In a clear direction that a person’s information is private and cannot be misused, the Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to withdraw immediately the instruction, if any, issued by it for making Aadhaar card mandatory for citizens to avail of government services and restrained the UIDAI from sharing personal details of any citizen with any investigating agency.

“If there are any instructions that Aadhaar is mandatory, it should be withdrawn immediately,” a Bench of Justice B S Chauhan and Justice J Chelameswar said, while staying the order of the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court directing sharing of data collected for issuing Aadhaar card with the CBI for solving a rape case.

The court asked Solicitor-General Mohan Prasaran to withdraw the notification making the possession of Aadhaar card mandatory for availing benefits of certain government schemes.

“You issue instructions withdrawing the notification making Aadhaar card mandatory for availing the services wherever (it is) applicable.

We have already passed a stay order. Why you are not implementing it,” Justice Chauhan asked the Solicitor-General. pparently displeased over the non-implementation of the court’s order on not making Aadhaar mandatory, Justice Chauhan told Prasaran that he has been receiving letters, making various complaints, including that they were not getting their marriages and properties registered, as the authorities insisted on Aadhaar card.

In one case, a lady said that “my marriage is not being registered because of the lack of the Aadhaar card and some say my property is not getting registered because of the lack of Aadhaar”, Justice Chauhan told Prasaran.

Issuing notice on the plea, the court said “no person should be deprived of any services for not possessing the Aadhaar card, if he/she is eligible”.

‘Aadhar Exposed’

Investigative website ‘Cobrapost’ on Monday claimed that it had carried out an expose which allegedly revealed that the project officers of  Aadhaar-- the 12 digit individual identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which is touted as the UPA Government’s ambitious programme to provide welfare schemes,  were more than willing  to forge documents for sums ranging from `250 to ` 5,000 to enrol illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.

The purported sting operation conducted by the website claimed that the enrolment officers gave assurances to not only provide the Aadhaar card but also proof of the Indian identity for a meagre amount.

Shockingly, Aadhar  is now accepted as proof of identity and address anywhere in India and can be used for opening bank accounts and obtaining telephone and LPG connections.

Some of the state governments have recognised it for their resident- centric schemes.

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