Even Supreme Court Is Not Clear On Legal Status of Aadhaar; Says Govt. ‘Can’ Enforce Aadhaar For Non-Welfare Plans
There is something dramatic going on right now when it comes the determining the legal status of Aadhaar enforcement by Govt. of India. After a recent hearing in this on-going case, the Bench at Supreme Court has made interesting observations about its usage but failed to announce any solid verdict which will put to rest all speculations regarding Aadhaar.
The net result of yesterday’s hearing at Supreme Court can be summarised as nothing, and legally, the status is same as the day before yesterday.
But the bench has certainly made few ‘observations’ and gave subtle ‘hints’, which basically approves Govt.’s recent Aadhaar push, concerning mobile phones, PAN Card and Income Tax filing.
Govt. Face-Off With Supreme Court On Aadhaar Issue Continues
In 2015, Supreme Court had clearly stated that Govt. cannot make Aadhaar Card as a mandatory requirement for availing welfare schemes announced by the elected Govt.
The same stand was repeated last year when the Bench restated the 2015 verdict regarding Aadhaar Card.
And yesterday, the Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar again restated the same fact: An Indian citizen who doesn’t hold an Aadhaar Card cannot be denied social welfare schemes, either by State Govt. or Centre.
However, in their arguments and statements, the Bench also made it clear that Govt. has the rights to enforce Aadhaar for non-welfare plans and schemes, such as mobile phones, issuing PAN Card and filing income tax for businesses.
Note here, that these ‘observations’ are not in written, and no official verdict was announced; thereby maintaining the status quo of the case.
What Does It Mean For The Common Man Now?
We will put it bluntly: Get an Aadhaar and avoid hassles.
As per recent ‘observations’ and ‘hints’ by the Supreme Court, it is now clear that they have become soft on the issue of Aadhaar card push by Govt., and doesn’t mind making it compulsory for every mobile phone, driving license and Income Tax, PAN Card.
Besides, under Aadhaar Act, Govt. has made Aadhaar mandatory for availing 30 welfare schemes funded under Consolidated Fund of India. Some of them are ex-gratia payments to Bhopal gas leak victims, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Bonded Labour Rehabilitation Scheme, National Action Plan for Skill Training of Persons with Disabilities and National Health Mission and more.
In a way, Aadhaar Act has the real power to distribute the welfare schemes, and even deciding the recipient’s right to access, thereby over-powering 2015 Supreme Court rule.
Hence, not having Aadhaar Card is not recommended as of now, and if we remove the legal complexities, it has now become actually mandatory for every citizen. A ruling by Supreme Court in future will only reinforce this fact.
If you are an Indian citizen, and still haven’t applied for Aadhaar Card, we would like to listen to your views on this case, by commenting right here!