SC to hear fresh plea against making Aadhaar mandatory

Mathew Thomas, the petitioner who had earlier challenged the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, has now filed the contempt plea in the apex court


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a fresh contempt plea against the government for allegedly making use of Aadhaar mandatory.

On 11 August 2015, the court had spelt it out that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for any government schemes and subsequently restricted the use of the unique identity number to a few schemes.

The court agreed to hear the plea against the secretary, ministry of human resources development, for making use of Aadhaar mandatory for scholarship. The petition also names many other government departments.

Mathew Thomas, the petitioner who had earlier challenged the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, has now filed the contempt plea.

A case challenging Aadhaar on the grounds that it violates the right to privacy is already before the apex court. The case has been referred to a Constitution bench, which is yet to hear the case.

In an interim ruling in December, the court allowed use of Aadhaar for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, pension schemes of the Central and state governments and the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme, in addition to its use in the public distribution system (PDS) and the distribution of cooking gas and kerosene subsidies.

In March, the government passed Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill as a money bill.

A challenge to passage of the law as a money bill is also being heard by the apex court.