Aadhaar card not mandatory for social welfare schemes: Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said an Aadhaar card was not mandatory for availing government social welfare schemes.

The court said this while referring to the constitution bench a challenge to the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme on the grounds that it violates the right to privacy.

An apex court bench headed by Justice J. Chelameswar said that it can be used as an alternative for the distribution of articles such as foodgrains as well as kerosene and LPG under the public distribution system.

But under no circumstance can the authorities insist on possession of the Aadhaar card even for the distribution of articles under the public distribution system.

Pronouncing the order, the court said the government will give wide publicity to this via electronic and print media and radio.

The court also recorded the statement by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that no personal information collected at the time of issuing the Aadhaar card will be shared with any person or the authorities.

The court said the hearing by the constitution bench on the challenge to the Aadhaar card will be held as early as possible.

Earlier, the bench headed by Justice J. Chelameswar took note of the "apparent unresolved issues" while referring the matter to the constitution bench.

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