Customers fill in forms as other customers wait in line to withdraw cash at a State Bank of India branch in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Supreme Court Refuses To Pass Interim Order On Aadhaar For Social Welfare Schemes

The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned hearing on a batch of petitions challenging making the unique identification number, Aadhaar, mandatory for certain government welfare schemes.

The vacation bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Justice Navin Sinha adjourned the matter until the next hearing on July 7, and said that no interim order can be passed at this stage on the “mere apprehension” of petitioners that the government may deprive people who do not have an Aadhaar number from availing benefits of various social welfare schemes.

The apex court was hearing three separate petitions challenging the central government's notification making Aadhaar mandatory for such schemes.

The bench referred to the June 9 judgement passed by the apex court in which it had upheld the validity of an Income-Tax Act provision making Aadhaar mandatory for allotment of permanent account number (PAN) and filing of tax returns, but had put a partial stay on its implementation till a Constitution bench addressed the issue of right to privacy.

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the top court that the deadline to get an Aadhaar number for availing benefits under these schemes has been extended till September 30, and hence, there is no urgency for any orders till the next date of hearing.

Mehta further said this extension is only for those who do not have Aadhaar. Those with an Aadhaar number will have to give it to avail these benefits, he added.

With inputs from PTI.