The government wants to make Aadhaar card mandatory for services include 135 government schemes including the cooking gas (LPG) to poor women, kerosene and fertiliser subsidy and public distribution system (PDS). The top court said the government can not insist on providing Aadhaar, even to issue Tatkal passports.
Earlier, the top court had observed that the alleged defect of citizens' biometric details under the Aadhaar scheme being collected without any law could be cured by subsequently bringing in a statute. "We have extended the deadline in the past and we will extend the deadline again but we may do it by the end of month to enable the petitioners in the case conclude the arguments", Venugopal had said.
SC extended March 31 deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar till it rules on petitions challenging validity of Act. The date was earlier set to March 31. The Bench then called the Attorney General for assistance in the issue. The five-judge Constitution bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and Ashok Bhushan, are hearing the petitions contesting the validity of the Aadhaar law agreed with his contention.
The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016 is a money bill of the Parliament of India.
The hearing began with submissions advanced by Senior Advocate P Chidambaram.
"The government can not insist for mandatory Aadhaar even for issuance of Tatkal passport". A Money Bill, unlike any other bill, can be passed by the Lok Sabha alone. Last week, Centre had told the Supreme Court that it may extend the deadline to link Aadhaar with bank account and mobile numbers.
He proceeded to submit that though the Bill was modified in the Rajya Sabha, the modifications were ignored in the Lok Sabha.
This deadline also been extended for those who apply for passports. He proceeded to submit that other ID's such as the voter ID, Electricity bills etc. are being taken into consideration.