Supreme Court (SC) of India, in the third week of March 2015, reiterated the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) about negating the mandatory status of Aadhaar number or Aadhaar card in India.
“No person should be denied any benefits or ‘suffer’ for not having the Aadhaar cards issued by Unique Identification Authority of India,” the SC stated.
A Bench of Justices J. Chelameswar, S.A. Bobde and C. Nagappan at the Supreme Court reconfirmed that the Aadhaar card is not compulsory and further, officials who ask for it to avail their services will be taken to task.
The programme of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to provide every resident a unique and mandatory 12-digit identity number had earlier been negated by the court on March 24, 2014.
The SC had then directed the government to immediately withdraw instructions making Aadhaar mandatory for citizens to avail benefits or face contempt proceedings.
The Bench said that despite many orders directing the centre not to insist on Aadhaar cards, there were complaints against various governmental authorities asking for Aadhaar cards to avail their services.
On September 23, 2013, the apex court had passed an interim order that no public services such as LPG can be denied to public due to lack of Aadhaar.
Till now, over 750 million Aadhaar cards have already been generated across the country. However, a major drawback of the Aadhaar scheme is that Aadhaar cards do not distinguish between citizens and non-citizens and thus can be manipulated for illegal immigrants.
Also, there are security concerns as anyone with an Aadhaar number can introduce others without any documentation to get the identity number, which makes it vulnerable to terrorism and other issues.
The UIDAI was established in 2009 under the Planning Commission. It is an agency responsible for implementing the Aadhaar scheme.