Why Aadhar is mandatory for retired govt employees, asks Supreme Court
Aadhaar: "How would it be a case of fake identity? The employee pension scheme deals with pension earned by employees after rendering services," the bench said, adding that forcing such employees at the age of 70 or 80 to go for Aadhaar would fall under the ambit of "exclusion".
The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned mandatory use of Aadhaar for drawing pension by retired government employees, saying they are former staff of government and their identity is not under doubt. Stressing that there has to be a robust system to ensure that nobody is deprived of his or her dues, a five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said pension accounts are operated by retired employees only and hence, there was no question of any impersonation.
"How would it be a case of fake identity? The employee pension scheme deals with pension earned by employees after rendering services," the bench said, adding that forcing such employees at the age of 70 or 80 to go for Aadhaar would fall under the ambit of "exclusion".
Justice D Y Chandrachud, who is a member of the bench, gave the example of his late father and former CJI Y V Chandrachud saying only he used to operate the pension account and hence there was no question of somebody else operating it.
The bench raised the issue of retired persons settled abroad. Pointing out that as per rules, only Indians can enrol for Aadhaar, it said, "The government has to ensure that non-resident Indians can get the pensionary benefits as they cannot apply for Aadhaar."
Attorney General K K Venugopal said change is an ongoing process and the law may be suitably changed to iron out such "glitches" and issues.
Moreover, the law should have the provision to deal with such contingencies, he said.
The bench took strong note of the submission that no such affected retired staff has come to the court, and said, "Constitutionality of an issue cannot be tested on the basis who has to come to court".
On data safety, Venugopal said the Aadhaar "data centre" is protected and kept at a place which is surrounded by 13 ft high and five ft wide walls.