Published: Fri, June 30, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

No stay order from SC on Aadhaar for social welfare schemes

No stay order from SC on Aadhaar for social welfare schemes

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay the government notification making it mandatory to furnish Aadhaar cards from July 1 to avail of social security benefits, including scholarships, right to food and mid-day meals.

A vacation bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha said the court can not pass an order only because the petitioners have "apprehensions" that those who have still not enrolled for Aadhaar are likely to be deprived of benefits of government schemes.

Meanwhile, additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for Govt of India, stated that the deadline for those who don't have Aadhaar Card for availing welfare schemes have been extended to September 30th, from June 30th.

The petitioners, represented by Senior advocate Shyam Divan, had challenged Govt. on Aadhaar requirement for availing welfare schemes, by stating that this will prove to be an inconvenience for the poor, and several deserving candidates can get rejected due to the mismatch in Aadhaar verification. You have to wait for one week. "If somebody is deprived (of the benefits) you can point out the same to this court", the bench told Divan and posted the matter for further hearing on July 7.

The court said on June 9: "First thing that is to be kept in mind is that the Aadhaar Act is enacted to enable the government to identify individuals for delivery of benefits, subsidies and services under various welfare schemes".

He added that there were alternate mechanisms through which a person who did not hold an Aadhaar card or had applied for it could avail the benefits.

In its order today, the Court noted that in view of paragraph 90 of the judgment in the Aadhaar/PAN case, no clarification or special order was required.

The Centre had said that in 2014-16, the government's savings through Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme on account of Aadhaar was Rs 49,560 crore. According to Section 2 (c) of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, "confirmation" implies this: The procedure by which the Aadhaar number alongside statistic data or biometric data of an individual is submitted to the Central Identities Data Repository for its check and such store checks the accuracy, or the scarcity in that department, on the premise of data accessible with it'. While this petition has been tagged with the main bunch of petitions challenging the Aadhaar scheme, it also seeks urgent interim relief by way of a stay on 18 different executive notifications.

A great deal of orders earlier had been passed by the apex court asking the government and its agencies not to make Aadhaar mandatory for extending benefits of their welfare schemes.

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