New legal proceedings aimed at Aadhaar usage
India’s Supreme Court will hear new contempt proceedings against various federal departments and state governments that insist on the mandatory usage of Aadhaar.
Aadhaar is the 12-digit unique identification number issued by the Indian government to every individual resident of India. The Aadhaar project aims to provide a single, unique identifier which captures all the demographic and biometric details of every Indian resident. Currently, Aadhaar has issued over 900 million Aadhaar numbers, and has enrolled approximately 850 million people, with a goal of ultimately enrolling 1.28 billion people.
According to India’s Tribune, among those named in the petitions include the Ministry of Human Resource Development, named for forcing students to use Aadhaar to obtain scholarships, and the Government of Karnataka, named for denial of subsidised food grains to the poor under the Public Distribution System unless people use the card issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India.
The article states the Supreme Court has allowed some of the institutions like banks, civil supplies departments and petroleum companies to make use of Aadhaar on a voluntary basis to prevent misuse of subsidies and irregularities in payment of wages under the employment guarantee scheme.
In May, BiometricUpdate.com reported that more than 130 million people used Aadhaar in March 2016 to authenticate their identity and receive a government benefit or service, according to figures submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Court has explored a wide range of issues concerning Aadhaar’s usage over the past several years, especially focused on its extended mandatory usage for social program administration.