SC: Aadhaar not a must for Social Security Benefits

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The Aadhar number, which is a unique identification card given by Unique Identification Authority, has become essential for every government service. Apex court has directed the Centre and States to follow its earlier order and Aadhar card cannot be insisted to citizens to get the social security benefits like gas connections, vehicle registration, scholarships, marriage registration etc.

The court with a three-judge bench headed by Justice Chelameswarhad issued an order with regard to this nearly 2 years back in 2013 September. The court while hearing an appeal to curb the practice said in some places Aadhaar cards were insisted by various authorities and it should not be done so. The bench had earlier said, “no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card in spite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory.” Solicitor General (SG) Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre responded that Centre would write to all the chief secretaries of states with regard to this. As per a circular, while hearing, the bench said that even judges of the Bombay High Court were told to provide Aadhaar number to authorities.

Senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam who was presenting for the petitioner said that although court has ordered on this, authorities are insisting upon Aadhar cards for purposes of lease deed and Delhi government had issued a circular on March 9 for marriage registration and that it should be taken as a matter of serious concern.

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The apex court had acted on fears expressed by activists that a large number of persons would not benefit from the purview of the state conferred benefits if it was made compulsory. The Bench is hearing petitions challenging legality of this system which is run by private operators.

Court shrugged off the remarks of Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh who suggested that it was up to states to ensure that the order was obeyed and Bench also stated that it would hear all petitions in the second week of July.

Court also has informed that Centre should not issue Aadhar card to illegal immigrants as this will lead them to be legitimate residents of the nation and it can be against the welfare of the nation.

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by Sushma Javare.