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Aadhaar not compulsory for welfare schemes: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Aadhaar card cannot be made mandatory by the government in order to extend benefits of government welfare schemes.

But the court also clarified that it cannot stop the government from using Aadhaar in other schemes such as opening of bank accounts.

"Aadhaar can't be mandatory for social welfare schemes but can be used for non-benefit schemes. Our earlier order is very clear. You can't stop government from using Aadhaar for non-benefit schemes like Income Tax," Chief Justice of India JS Khehar said today.

The court also said that in order to hear petitions challenging Aadhaar, a seven-judge bench has to be set up which is not possible right now.

The order came after the government had issued orders that had made Aadhaar card mandatory for citizens in order to receive benefits of government welfare schemes including schemes like free mid-day meals for school children, scholarships and other schemes for backward castes and the disabled.

As of now, Aadhaar cards are still mandatory for receiving subsidised cooking gas or LPG and food grains.

This Modi-led BJP government has been trying to link Aadhaar with every transaction, scheme & subsidy. Last week, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley even said that Aadhaar might become the only required ID proof in future. He also said that Aadhaar will be mandatory for filing of Income Tax returns to curb tax evasion and frauds.

Incidentally, this is the same party that had vehemently opposed making Aadhaar compulsory, when it was in opposition. It had cited privacy concerns then, but has not taken a single step to address the same concerns that it had raised.

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