After continuous criticism and refusal from Supreme Court, the central government has finally decided to give Aadhaar a legal status in the country. The Union Cabinet has approved the long pending National Identification Authority (NIA) of India Bill which will provide a statutory status to Aadhaar and UIDAI. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh headed the cabinet meeting participated by other ministers and the bill is expected to be presented in the upcoming winter session of the Parliament. Besides UIDAI, Aadhaar will also be given a legal symbol in the constitution of the country. At present, UIDAI issues Aadhaar number to the residents of the country through an executive order.
The government has cleared way for long waiting bill because it was recently challenged by Supreme Court’s decision which stated that Aadhar card cannot be made mandatory for getting benefits of a scheme or service. The bill estimates the project to be worth of Rs. 12400 crore. After the court decision, government also filed a petition requesting for amendments in the apex court’s order but while hearing the petition today Supreme Court refused to make any changes in its order and has decided 22 October as the next hearing date for this Aadhar card issue. The UID project has been continuously opposed by socialists and few NGOs and a PIL filed against Aadhaar card forced the Supreme Court of India to declare such decision on 23 September 2013. Aadhaar has now become an interesting issue because at one end SC has refused it while on the other end government has cleared the NIA bill. Upcoming days will be very crucial for the fate of Aadhar card and its related schemes and services.