The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that securing Aadhar cards, being issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), was optional and it has not made it mandatory for citizens.
The Supreme Court, hearing a batch of pleas against decisions of some states to make Aadhar cards compulsory for a range of activities, asked the Centre not to issue it to illegal immigrants as it would legitimise their stay. Counsel for UIDAI and Centre responded to the pleas saying, “So far as the Union of India is concerned, we have said the Aadhar card is voluntary.”
During the brief hearing, the Bench of justices B S Chauhan and S A Bobde was told that despite the fact that the Aadhar card is “voluntary” in nature, an order has been issued by the Bombay HC Registrar in pursuance of an order of the Maharashtra government that it would be necessary for disbursal of salary of judges and staff too.
“Aadhar is being made mandatory for purposes like registration of marriages and others,” said Anil Divan, arguing for Justice (retd) K S Puttaswamy, former judge of Karnataka HC. Puttaswamy, in his PIL, has sought a stay on the implementation of the scheme. Though the government said securing Aadhar cards was optional, it informed Parliament recently that data digitalisation of over 117.32 crore people was over. “Biometric enrolment of over 16.90 crore population is over. The biometric data of 12.38 crore people have been sent to UIDAI and aadhar numbers for 7.26 crore people, enrolled under the National Population Register, has been generated,” the Home Ministry had informed Lok Sabha on August 6.
The government has approved `6,649.05 crore for creation of NPR. The total estimated outlay approved by the Cabinet Committee on UIDAI project is `12,398.22 crore.