Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Interesting government failure:
Aadhar card to remain optional for availing Government schemes; Supreme Court directs authorities not to share personal information of Aadhar card holders; Asks Centre to ensure wide publicity of the fact that Aadhar card is not mandatory.

The Supreme Court allowed the Centre to link the Aadhaar card with the public distribution system (PDS) and LPG. But the court made it clear that Aadhaar will not be mandatory for availing any social benefit scheme. 

The court, however, allowed the use of details of Aadhar card holders for any criminal investigation.

The Supreme Court has made it clear that Aadhar card will be optional for availing various welfare schemes of the government, including PDS, Kerosene and LPG distribution. 

The apex Court has also ordered that no personal information of the holders of such cards shall be shared by any authority.

A three-judge bench, which in the forenoon referred to a larger Constitution Bench a batch of petitions challenging the Aadhar scheme and the issue whether right to privacy is a fundamental right, recorded the statement of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that "no personal information of Aadhar card shall be shared by any authority".

The bench, headed by Justice J Chelameswar, which issued a slew of directions, said the Centre shall give wide publicity through electronic and print media that the card is not mandatory to avail the government's welfare schemes. 

It further directed that the information received by UIDAI shall not be used for any other purposes, except in criminal investigation with the permission of the court. 

The court did not allow the interim plea of petitioners, challenging Aadhar scheme, that the ongoing enrolment process for the Aadhar card be stayed. 

Earlier allowing the Centre's plea for a larger bench to look into the matter, the court framed various questions, including as to whether right to privacy is a fundamental right, to be decided by a Constitution Bench. 

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