Aadhaar can’t be only ID proof: SC


New Delhi: In a setback to the Centre, the Supreme Court on Monday said that Aadhaar cards, being issued under a key scheme of the UPA-2, are purely voluntary and that Centre and state government departments cannot demand the card as the sole proof of identity in order to provide a service.
The top court’s interim directions came in response to a PIL filed by a former judge questioning the legal sanctity of the Aadhaar card.
In his plea, Justice K.S. Puttaswamy, a retired judge of the Karnataka High Court, challenged the decisions of some state governments to make Aadhaar cards compulsory for a range of basic activities, including salary and PF disbursals, marriage and property registrations, as well as issuing new gas connections.
Aadhaar made optional, citizens get a breather 
Venkat Ram Reddy | dc
Hyderabad: The Centre’s submission before the Supreme Court on Monday that Aadhaar was only ‘optional’ and not mandatory to avail various government schemes and services comes as a relief for citizens who have been bullied into getting Aadhaar cards to avail of various services and rights.
Aadhaar was made mandatory to avail scholarships and fee reimbursement for students, domestic LPG subsidy, property registration, pensions, crop loans, NREGS and other such services.Lakhs of students and others in the state have been facing several hardships because of the mandatory Aadhaar and are being denied government benefits if they do not have the card. Making Aadhaar optional will come as a big relief to them.
AP has issued the largest number of Aadhaar cards in the country and has also linked a huge number of welfare schemes with Aadhaar. By October-end 100 per cent of the population of AP will be enrolled for Aadhaar.
The state was the first in the country to implement Aadhaar-LPG linkage in five districts.
But, only half the total LPG consumers in these districts are availing the gas subsidy because either they don’t have an Aadhaar card or don’t have an Aadhaar linked bank account.
Minister for civil supplies D. Sridhar Babu said that the government will take a decision on making Aadhaar cards optional  after receiving instructions from the Centre and the UIDAI.
“We are yet to receive a copy of the order from the SC. We can comment only after going through the copy. The advocate general has been asked to get the details from the Supreme Court. We are also awaiting instructions from the Centre and the UIDAI,” he said.
UIDAI officials said the Aadhaar enrolment will not stop in the state as the Supreme Court observations are about whether Aadhaar should be mandatory or optional.

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