Supreme Court blasts Centre over making Aadhaar mandatory, says it was supposed to be optional

The Supreme Court of India lambasted the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre for making Aadhaar card a mandatory prerequisite to avail government services. The government was told that the Aadhaar can only be an optional requirement, as per the court's earlier ruling on the issue.

The court was making the observations while hearing a PIL filed against the government's decision of making Aadhaar compulsary.

To this, the Centre responded saying Pan cards were found to be misused, and the only option to combat this problem was to make Aadhaar mandatory. "We found a number of PAN cards were being used to divert funds to shell companies. To prevent it (from happening), the only option was to make Aadhar card mandatory," said Attorney General of India, Mukul Rohatgi, appearing in the Supreme Court on the government's behalf.

Last month, the government had said it is mandatory to use one's Aadhaar card while filing Income Tax returns. The move was purportedly part of the Centre's efforts to battle the menace of black money. Aadhaar is also a must while applying for a Pan card.

This apart, an Aadhaar number has also become mandatory to seek free gas connections under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana. Those below poverty line (BPL) women looking to avail free LPG connections but do not have the Aadhaar number, have been asked to apply for it by 31 May.

The Supreme Court had said in August 2015 that Aadhaar cards will not be mandatory for availing benefits of government's welfare schemes, and had also barred authorities from sharing personal biometric data collected for enrollment under the scheme.

Updated Date: Apr 21, 2017 12:34 PM

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