SC refused to modify its order limiting Aadhaar use to LPG, Kerosene and PDS

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Who: SC order limiting Aadhaar use to LPG, Kerosene and PDS
What: Supreme Court refused to modify it
When: 7 October 2015

Supreme Court of India (SC) on 7 October 2015 refused to modify its order of August 11 limiting the use of Aadhaar card for LPG connection, kerosene disbursement and foodgrain distribution under Public Distribution System (PDS).

The refusal order was passed by a three-member bench of apex court headed by Justice J Chelameswar and comprising of Justices SA Bobde and C Nagappan. However, bench while refusing to modify its order referred the issue to a larger SC bench.

The court directed the registry to put all the applications seeking clarification/modification before Chief Justice HL Dattu for appropriate order.

What is August 11 order of SC?

On 11 August 2015, the SC had ruled that Aadhaar card will remain optional for availing welfare schemes and the authorities were barred from using it for the purposes other than PDS and LPG distribution system.

The order led Union Government, RBI, SEBI, IRDA, TRAI, Pension Fund Regulatory Authority and states like Gujarat and Jharkhand to move the apex court, wherein they pitched strongly for voluntary use of Aadhaar cards for providing benefits of various welfare schemes.

Why relaxation demanded by government?

Aadhaar is central to many schemes including Jan Dhan Yojana and Digital India campaign and with the Supreme Court’s order now restricting its use, there are doubts as to whether these schemes will take a hit.

Over 90 crore citizens have already been issued Aahaar cards by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and crores of rupees had been spent on the UIDAI scheme to connect six lakh villages with various welfare measures.

Further, the Aadhaar cards would help in stopping fake withdrawal of money arising out of welfare scheme.

Why restriction was put?

It was argued that the Aadhaar cards will be made mandatory for availing benefits of welfare schemes.

These cards will encroach upon an individual’s privacy, especially in the absence of any oversight or regulation and information collected during enrolment could possibly be misused.

The arguments had led SC in March 2014 to rule that these cards will not be mandatory and termed Aadhaar as optional and barred the authorities from sharing personal biometric data collected for enrolment under the scheme.

What is Aadhaar card?

Aadhaar card is a unique identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), established in 2009, to the citizens. Under the programme, every citizen is to be provided with a 12-digit unique identification number for which biometric information is collected.