Govt pores over legal sanctity of mandatory-Aadhaar services

The government is assessing the use-case scenarios — mandatory and voluntary — of Aadhaar even as it mulling making the unique identification number compulsory to avail a few services. More importantly, the Centre is examining whether or not mandatory usage of Aadhaar violates a 2015 Supreme Court order.

The central government machinery is working on various questions raised by legal eagle Software Freedom Law Tribunal pertaining to Aadhaar usage, according to BusinessLine report which states that Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is getting the matter examined.

Rajya Sabha MP R Chandrasekhar had in November raised questions in Parliament on the issue after which SFLC had written to him pointing out to about 120 violations pertaining to Aadhaar usage, according to the report.

While ruling that no citizen should be denied service due to lack of Aadhaar, the Supreme Court had in 2015 restricted the voluntary use of Aadhaar to six government schemes: the public distribution system (PDS), LPG, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojna and National Social Assistance Programme (old age and widow pension).

The court had clearly emphasised that no person should be denied any service for lack of an Aadhaar card or number.

According to the report, Chandrasekhar has highlighted cases like the government considering EPFO’s voluntary pension scheme linked with Aadhaar; linking BPL ration cards with Aadhaar made mandatory for PDS in Bengaluru; Paytm starting Aadhaar-based KYC process and government saying households not to get LPG subsidy without Aadhaar.