Don’t tie up benefits to Aadhaar, court tells Centre

Petitions on card referred to Constitution Bench

The Supreme Court, while restraining the Centre from issuing Aadhaar cards to immigrants living in India without proper papers, has made it clear that no citizen should be denied benefits for non-possession of the card.

Justices B.S. Chauhan and S.A. Bobde, in a brief order on Monday, directed that writ petitions on the Aadhaar card be listed for hearing before a Constitution Bench.

“Until then no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card in spite of the Authority making it mandatory, since government says it is voluntary. The Authority should verify whether the applicant is entitled to the card under the law and should not issue it to illegal immigrants,” said the two-judge Bench.

Justice K.S. Puttaswamy, retired judge of the Karnataka High Court, and other petitioners said the Aadhaar scheme was unconstitutional.

‘Infringes privacy’

The scheme is unconstitutional as applicants are required to part with personal information on biometrics, iris and fingerprints, infringing their right to privacy, which is held part of the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution, Justice K.S. Puttaswamy, and other petitioners told the Supreme Court.

“There are no safeguards or penalties and no legislative backing for obtaining personal information, and the proposed law introduced by the government has been rejected by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance. Provisions for collection and retention of biometric data have been held impermissible in the United Kingdom and France by their top courts.”

Justice Puttaswamy said linking of the Aadhaar number with food security under the new Act, LPG subsidy, the Employees’ Provident Fund and other direct transfer of benefits made enrolment under the Aadhaar scheme mandatory, falsifying the government’s claim that it was voluntary.

Aadhaar Authority has made card mandatory though govt says it is voluntary

Bench also restrains Centre from issuing cards to illegal immigrants

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