New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to pass an interim order on petitions challenging several government notifications mandating Aadhaar for availing benefits under various social welfare schemes.
Refusing to pass an order, the vacation bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Navin Sinha said: “No interim order can be passed … on mere apprehensions.”
Fixing July 7 as the next date of hearing, the bench asked senior counsel Shyam Divan, appearing for petitioners Shanta Sinha and Kalyani Sen Menon, to show if people were being deprived of the benefits under social welfare scheme for not possessing Aadhaar number.
The court said this as Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that the June 30 deadline mandating the possession of Aadhaar number for availing benefits under social welfare schemes had been extended to September 30.
Declining to pass any interim order, the bench referred to the June 9 judgment when the top court had upheld the newly inserted Section 139AA of Income Tax mandating linking of the Aadhaar number with the Permanent Account Number (PAN) and for filing Income Tax Returns.
The vacation bench said: “In view of the observations made in June 9 judgment … no further observation is required.”
The court said on June 9: “First thing that is to be kept in mind is that the Aadhaar Act is enacted to enable the government to identify individuals for delivery of benefits, subsidies and services under various welfare schemes.
“This is so mentioned in Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act which states that proof of Aadhaar number is necessary for receipt of such subsidies, benefits and services.”
The petitioners have challenged a series of 17 notifications making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits including mid-day meal, disability pensions as well as for victims of Bhopal gas tragedy.
Shanta Sinha was the first Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and a Magsaysay award recipient and Kalyani Sen Menon is a feminist researcher. (IANS)