AADHAAR CONTROVERSY

Karnataka Cabinet approves bill making Aadhaar compulsory to avail subsidies

The state Assembly will take up the legislation during the Budget Session.

The Karnataka Cabinet on Tuesday approved a Central legislation that allows government departments to make Aadhaar a must for citizens to avail subsidies and other services, PTI reported.

The Karnataka State Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2017, will be tabled during the Budget Session, which is expected to be held from February 16 to 28.

The bill will provide for “good governance, efficient, transparent, and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services, the expenditure for which is incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India, to individuals residing in India through assigning of unique identity numbers to such individuals.”

“The Centre already has an Aadhaar Act. We are also bringing in a legislation to ensure government schemes reach genuine beneficiaries,” Law Minister TB Jayachandra was quoted as saying by Deccan Herald.

When he was asked why the government has decided to introduce a legislation on Aadhaar through the Supreme Court is hearing cases linked to the unique identification number, Jayachandra said, “We will put in place a legislation to be prepared in any case.”

A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court is set to begin the final hearing into petitions challenging the legality of the government’s Aadhaar programme on January 17.

The court is hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the validity of Aadhaar based on privacy concerns. In a landmark ruling in August 2017, the Supreme Court had declared privacy a fundamental right protected under Article 21 of the Constitution. This was seen as a major blow to the Centre’s push for Aadhaar.

With the privacy question out of the way, the court resumed hearing the petitions in the last week of November.

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