New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said the government cannot make Aadhaar mandatory for extending benefits of central welfare schemes, but added that it cannot stop the government from linking the 12-digit identification number to the opening of bank accounts or filing of tax returns.
Recently, the government made it mandatory for citizens to produce the 12-digit Aadhaar number for benefits under dozens of central schemes – free mid-day meals for schoolchildren, scholarships, subsidized cooking gas and foodgrains and other schemes for backward castes and the disabled. Aadhaar cards will also be needed for filing tax returns. The government had said it will enable people to get their biometric identity documents by June 30.
The apex court said a 7-judge bench has to be set up to hear the pleas challenging Aadhaar but right now it is not possible.