Fintotal News Analysis | Aadhaar Twist- SC Says Aadhaar Not Mandatory for Govt Benefits
Aadhaar Twist- SC Says Aadhaar Not Mandatory for Govt Benefits
Ruby Jacob, 24 Sep 2013

In a surprise to UIDAI, which had made Aadhaar compulsory for receiving some types of government benefits, the Supreme Court has ruled that possessing Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for accessing welfare schemes or any other benefits citizens are entitled.

Aadhaar was made a requisite for getting benefits under Direct Transfer Benefit (DBT) scheme for LPG customers, in the 20 odd districts where DBT was rolled out. Those without bank account linked to Aadhaar would get grace period to do so after which their cash subsidy for LPG cylinders would be discontinued.

Some states like Maharashtra, Delhi, and Jharkhand took it further - Aadhaar was being made mandatory for other government-linked transfers as well such as salary, pension, scholarship and even marriage, property registration. Given that hardly about 10% of the population is covered by UIDAI Aadhaar, large numbers of people were inconvenienced by the requirement.

This ruling of the SC came in response to a PIL filed. It said until final hearing Aadhaar should not be made compulsory for any getting sort of benefit or service they are entitled to and that no person should suffer for not having Aadhaar card, in spite of the Authority making it mandatory. Ironically, aadhaar enrolment is voluntary though the government has made possessing it mandatory for some of its welfare schemes.

SC also wants UIDAI to issue Aadhaar only to citizens. Presently it is issued to all residents of the country, irrespective of citizenship.

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