Published: Sat, April 22, 2017
Money | By Oscar Reynolds

SC slams Modi govt, asks why it has made Aadhaar mandatory?

SC slams Modi govt, asks why it has made Aadhaar mandatory?

After centre making Aadhaar card mandatory, the Supreme Court on Friday questioned the government how Aadhar can be made compulsory when the order passed by the apex court stated that it should be optional.

Retirement fund body Employees Provident Fund Organisation or EPFO has also asked its members to link their Aadhaar details with their EPF accounts to make savings related settlement claims a hassle-free exercise. In a violation of the SC order, the centre introduced last-minute amendments to the Finance Bill 2017, making Aadhaar mandatory for filing taxes.

The Bench countered him observing, "Is this the remedy (for this ill) by forcibly asking people to give their Aadhaar card details".

The court was told that Aadhaar number has been linked with Pan card as there were instances of people holding multiple or fake permanent account numbers.

"There is a legislative mandate now".

The top court by its August 11, 2015, order had said: "The Unique Identification Number or the Aadhaar card will not be used by the respondents (the Centre or its agencies) for any objective other than the PDS Scheme and in particular for the goal of distribution of foodgrains, etc. and cooking fuel, such as kerosene". "This would create huge difficulties", he told the bench which said it would hear arguments on the plea on April 25.

The court was making the observations while hearing a PIL filed against the government's decision of making Aadhaar compulsary. "They (government and its agencies) can not be stopped from seeking Aadhaar for non-benefit schemes like opening of bank accounts", a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar had said.

The petitioner said he did not hold an Aadhaar card on the legitimate expectation that the said scheme was not mandatory in view of the orders of the court.

The apex court on August 11, 2015 had said Aadhaar cards will not be mandatory for availing benefits of government's welfare schemes and barred the authorities from sharing personal biometric data collected for enrollment under the scheme.

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