Government to continue with Aadhar scheme, SC told

Government to continue with Aadhar scheme, SC told

The central government Friday cleared all the doubts on the future of Aadhar scheme as it told the Supreme Court that it would continue with the unique identification project.

The government's stand was conveyed by the Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar to a bench of Chief Justice H.L.Dattu and Justice A.K.Sikri when it took up for hearing a PIL by Lt.Col. Mathew Thomas (retd.) challenging the scheme's validity.

The court was told that the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) would continue with its work and the government would not insist on Adhar card for providing facilities to people as directed by the court earlier.

The apex court by its Sep 23, 2013, order had said: "No person should suffer for not getting the Adhaar card inspite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory and when any person applies to get the Aadhar Card voluntarily, it may be checked whether that person is entitled for it under the law and it should not be given to any illegal immigrant."

In the course of the last hearing of the matter Feb 2, the court, taking note of media reports that the government was having second thoughts on the question of mandatory issuance of Aadhar cards, asked it to spell out its position.

As the government cleared its stand, the court tagged the PIL by Lt.Col. Thomas with nine other PILs being heard by the apex court since 2012. An earlier PIL filed by Justice (Retd.) K.S. Puttaswamy has contended that the entire scheme was unconstitutional as the biometric data collected under it was an incursion and transgression of individual privacy.

Meanwhile, the court Friday impleaded Reserve Bank of India and Maharashtra government on the plea of senior counsel Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for Thomas, who contended that despite its interim orders, the banks were insisting on Aadhar number for opening bank accounts including KYC.

Maharashtra government was impleaded after Subramanium told the court that the state government was insisting on Aadhar card number to pay wages to its employees. He told the court that even schools and other educational institution in Maharashtra were insisting on Aadhar Card number to grant facilities including scholarship.

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