Aadhaar faces fresh legal challenge in India

A privacy campaigner in India has launched a renewed legal effort to ensure that the government does not make its biometric-backed unique ID scheme mandatory for all initiatives.

Mathew Thomas has filed a case with the Supreme Court alleging that the government is still trying to make the Aadhaar system compulsory for all scheme.

His attorney has accused petroleum & natural gas secretary K D Tripathi and Indian Oil Corporation chairman B Ashok of “wilful and deliberate violation” of a previous SC order related to the issue.

Last August,  a case led by Thomas, a former army officer and defence missile scientist turned social activist, resulted in the Supreme Court decreeing that the Aadhaar number must not be mandatory for government schemes.

However, Supreme Court five-judge Constitution bench in October last year extended the use of the Aadhaar card on a voluntary basis to avail other government schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.

This was in addition to the other two schemes — public distribution system and LPG schemes — allowed earlier by the court in its August 11, 2015 interim order.