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June 30 deadline for Aadhaar not to be extended: Govt to SC

20 May 2017, 04:59 | Terri Saunders

June 30 deadline for Aadhaar not to be extended: Govt to SC

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the apex court that the idea behind making Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes was that the benefit should not go

Rohatgi said that earlier, some pleas seeking identical interim reliefs were also filed and those matters were pending before the apex court. The petitioners had urged the top court to hear their plea before June 30, the Centre's deadline for providing Aadhaar in order to receive subsidies.

He said that various application filed against Aadhaar scheme, filed over the last three months, were not taken up for hearing in the apex court, causing undue delay in adjudication of crucial case which could have huge implications on civil rights of citizens.

Admitting that some of the prayers were same, Divan said that they have filed a number of applications and the same were not being taken by the registry.

The petition, filed by Magsaysay award victor Shanta Sinha, argued that mandatory requirement of Aadhaar for these schemes "constrict rights and freedoms which a citizen has always been enjoying unless and until they part with their personal biometric information to the government".

The bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Navin Sinha recused from hearing the petition by Shanta Sinha and Kalyani Sen Menon citing that Justice Nageswara Rao had appeared for the government in the matter when he was Additional Solicitor General. "The bench had said that no person can be deprived of these schemes for want of Aadhaar", PTI quoted him as saying.

Rohatgi said that Aadhaar was being made compulsory so that benefits of schemes do not "go to ghosts".

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Divan also argued that the "architecture" of Aadhaar is that of a "surveillance state".

The remarks came when the bench wanted to know from senior advocate Shyam Divan "why this second petition, when you have alreay filed a plea earlier seeking similar reliefs".

During the hearing, the Attorney General claimed 115 crore Aadhaar cards have already been issued, in a population of 125 crores.

Appearing before a bench of A M Khanwilkar and Naveen Sinha, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi contented that linking of Aadhaar with various scheme was meant to ensure that benefits of social welfare policies reached to the needy and the government would not extend the deadline. "Leaks were happening in some schemes", he said.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had passed a slew of orders asking the government and its agencies not to make Aadhaar mandatory for extending benefits of their welfare schemes.

He said if a person does not have Aadhaar till June 30, he can get himself enrolled for it and enrollment slips and slips of request made for it would also serve the goal.



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