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Posted at: Mar 28, 2017, 1:39 AM; last updated: Mar 28, 2017, 12:14 PM (IST)

Yes to welfare benefits even if no Aadhaar

Yes to welfare benefits even if no Aadhaar

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 27

In a boost to the NDA government’s attempt to link its services to Aadhaar, the Supreme Court on Monday endorsed its decision to make it mandatory providing the UID number for opening bank accounts, issuance of passports and driving licence.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar, however, said the government cannot insist on Aadhaar for extending benefits of social welfare schemes. 

The clarification came after senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing former Karnataka High Court judge KS Puttaswamy, asked for an early hearing of an application challenging the Centre’s move to insist on  Aadhaar for mid-day meals. Divan said it amounted to violation of the fundamental right to liberty, besides contempt of court as the SC had passed several orders that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for availing benefits of social welfare schemes.

However, the Chief Justice of India said there was no urgency as the main issue relating to the constitutional validity of Aadhaar involving collection of biometric data, fingerprints and other personal details collected by private agencies had already been referred to a five-judge Constitution Bench.

Justice Khehar indicated the issue may be examined by a seven-judge Bench instead.

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