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SC Refuses to Pass Order Against Mandatory Aadhaar For Social Schemes

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to pass any order or interim order on a government notification of making the Aadhaar card mandatory for availing benefits of various social welfare schemes.The court said it can not pass orders on “mere apprehensions and uncertainties” and added that no clarification or further observations are required at this stage.”In view of this and the observations made in the judgement inter alia in para 90 in the case of Binoy Viswam vs Union of India decided on June 9, no further observation is required”, the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on July 7 before an appropriate bench.Dismissing this petition, the vacation bench of Supreme Court, comprising of A.M. Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha stated that the Aadhaar push can not be stopped now, in the middle, based on “mere apprehension” of petitioners, regarding Aadhaar. The court referred to its June 9 verdict and said no further observation is needed in the matter pending before 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.The court was responding to a petition that challenged the government’s February 8 and June 22 notifications extending the deadline for enrolling in the world’s biggest biometric identification programme.The Centre had on May 19, refused to extend the June 30 deadline for making Aadhaar mandatory for availing social scheme benefits.This is slightly confusing, as neither does it protect those who have obtained an Aadhaar number but to not wish to link it to the various schemes in issue, nor does it advance the government’s plan of ensuring mandatory enrolment by 30 September 2017.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. But critics say the move violates privacy, is vulnerable to data breaches and helps government spy on people.However, Divan said, “my only submission is that no one should be deprived of these benefits due to lack of Aadhaar”.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.