Aadhaar Card Voluntary, Not Mandatory : Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court recently said Aadhaar cards are not mandatory for availing government services such as domestic cooking gas, food subsidy, marriage certificates, salary reimbursements and other services.

The interim order is expected to benefit a number of people but may come in the way of the UPA’s welfare programmes, such as the “game-changer” Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme, in an election year. It is likely to slow down the government’s bid to enroll 1.1 billion eligible residents by 2014.

The order came after the Centre told a bench of justice BS Chauhan and justice SA Bobde that securing an Aadhaar number was voluntary.

In the Capital, several welfare entitlements are linked to Aadhaar, enrollment for which is voluntary. States such as Maharashtra and Jharkhand, too, have made it a must for availing pensions, scholarships and to even register property.

Launched in February 2009 at a projected cost of `15,000 crore, Aadhaar is designed to provide every resident in India a unique 12-digit identity number.

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