New Delhi: Government said on Wednesday it is strictly adhering to Supreme Court’s order that production of Aadhaar Card will not be a condition for citizens to obtain any benefit due to them. Individuals without Aadhaar number can offer alternate means of identification for availing government subsidies, benefits and services, it added. “Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act provides that if an Aadhaar number is not assigned to an individual, the individual shall be offered alternate and viable means of identification for delivery of the subsidy, benefit or service,” Minister of State for IT and Electronics PP Chaudhary informed the Lok Sabha.
The Supreme Court, in its Interim Order dated August 11, 2015, had directed that the production of Aadhaar Card will not be a condition for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen. The apex court directed government that Aadhaar card will not be used for any purpose other than PDS scheme, kerosene and LPG subsidy, which was later extended to include schemes of MGNREGA, National Social Assistance Programme pensions (old age, widow and disability pensions), PMJDY and EPFO, through its interim order dated October 15, 2015.
Chaudhary added that the Supreme Court, through its October 15 order, had also ruled that the Aadhaar scheme is purely voluntary and cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by the Court. The government had introduced the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016, in Parliament on March 3, 2016, and it was passed by the Parliament on March 16, 2016. The Bill received the assent of the President on March 25, 2016 and has been published in the Official Gazette on March 26, 2016, as Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.