Curbing terrorism, money laundering, and black money and targeting the delivery of subsidies and benefits have been listed by the Centre as ‘legitimate state interests’ in rolling out Aadhaar. Photo: Mint
Curbing terrorism, money laundering, and black money and targeting the delivery of subsidies and benefits have been listed by the Centre as ‘legitimate state interests’ in rolling out Aadhaar. Photo: Mint

Aadhaar should not be made mandatory to give benefits to vulnerable groups, SC told

Senior advocate Shyam Divan told the Supreme Court that it was required to be established whether Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act was being used as an overextension of the coercive powers of the state

New Delhi: Senior advocate Shyam Divan on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that Aadhaar should not be made mandatory to give benefits to vulnerable groups, provide mid-day meals to children or for medical treatments, among others.

Appearing on behalf of petitioners who have challenged the constitutional validity of the 12-digit unique identity number, Divan said it was required to be established whether Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act was being used as an overextension of the coercive powers of the state. Aadhaar cannot be used to create a second class citizenry, Divan added.

Taking the argument forward, Gopal Subramanium, also appearing for petitioners, told the court that since school admissions were being denied for lack of Aadhaar, the legislation was not an enabler.

“It falls on all grounds of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India," he remarked.

The matter is being heard by a constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra since January.

Subramanium also raised questions on whether Aadhaar was really meant for the oppressed since it was required to be linked with banks, mobile numbers etc. It was also highlighted that the Aadhaar scheme was implemented without a legal framework in place and that it was not possible to retrospectively enact a law.

Curbing terrorism, money laundering, and black money and targeting the delivery of subsidies and benefits have been listed by the Centre as “legitimate state interests" in rolling out Aadhaar.

The matter will be heard next on Thursday.

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