Supreme Court today will conduct hearing of the petition filed by government and oil companies requesting for modification in the previous order of Supreme Court on Aadhar card issue. Actually, hearing to a PIL challenging the Aadhaar project and its functioning, Supreme Court in its interim order on 23rd September declared that Aadhar card cannot be made mandatory for getting benefits of various schemes and service. It also announced that enrollment for Aadhar card should be on voluntary basis and not mandatory. Government and concerned authorities were shocked by SC’s stance on this issue. Later, Government filed a petition in the court requesting for changes in the previous verdict on Aadhar card stating that following this decision could affect various ongoing and future schemes. After government, oil companies also headed towards SC asking for similar changes in the interim order.
While hearing to these, SC on 8th October ruled out the request petition and reiterated that it is firm on its previous stand on Aadhar card issue. However, union cabinet also approved the long pending NIA Bill which is expected to be introduced in the next session of parliament. Passing the bill in the parliament will provide a legal status to UIDAI and Aadhaar in the country removing all the hindrances from the successful implementation of Aadhaar and Aadhaar based platform throughout the country. After the two parties, the official regulatory body of the Aadhaar project UIDAI became the latest to knock SC by filing a similar petition on the same issue.
SC’s interim order has forced the government to pause Aadhaar based implementation and Oil and Petroleum Ministry has said that no statement can be made until SC’s approval and until then Aadhar card would not be made mandatory for the DBT-LPG subsidy scheme. Government is, however, is also firm on its stand regarding Aadhar card enrollment and says that enrolling for Aadhar card is not a mandatory process but different departments or governments can use it for providing their services and schemes. In states like Delhi and Maharashtra, state governments have made Aadhar card compulsory for services like marriage and property registration while many other states are looking for integrating Aadhaar into their existing system.
As far as today’s hearing is concerned, Supreme Court does not seem to change its mind this time looking at its stance on previous two occasions. Government might again get a thumb down from the apex court and the only possible way that can help them in continuing their dream project is passing the bill in the Parliament and giving Aadhaar a statutory status in the country.