Though it came as a major relief for the nation, after the apex court indefinitely extended the March 31 deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail enormous welfare schemes, media reports depict that in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly, fragile pension seekers have not received their pension. The Supreme Court has questioned the Centre on Wednesday, March 21, about its decision of linking Aadhar with the pension, stating that it is not a “subsidy but an entitlement of a person for years of service she or he has provided to the government.”
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan asked attorney general K K Venugopal if the Centre can deny pension a rightful entitlement, for just want of Aaadhaar card. Responding to the SC, Venugopal claimed that the Aadhaar has been instrumental in eliminating many fake pensioners drawing the post-retirement benefits for years.”Justice Sikri claimed, “that Pension is an entitlement and not a benefit under the social welfare schemes. How is it included under Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016?”
According to a report mentioned in the business daily, Economic times, many ailing persons have not been able to get Aadhaar as their fingerprints have worn out due to age factor and toiling and are unable to record their biometric data. Senior citizens, between 60 years to 79, who are below poverty line are entitled to a monthly pension of Rs 400, while those who are above 80 years get a pension of Rs 500 per month. The 12-digit biometric has gained much light due to several controversies, especially in terms of data breaching. While the top court is yet to take a decision on several petitions in order to make the 12-digit biometric number for government services, while at the same time torn between the citizen’s right to privacy.