New Delhi: The government Monday told the Supreme Court that the Aadhaar Card scheme was envisaged as a means to deliver benefits of the social welfare schemes to poorer sections of society and there was nothing in it that violated the citizens' fundamental rights.
"It is clear that the UID is in no manner violative of any fundamental rights of citizens of India, and is not in any manner illegal or unconstitutional," the government said in its response while seeking dismissal of a PIL challenging the Aadhaar Card on grounds that it enjoyed no statutory backing and had no mechanism to protect applicants' personal details from being leaked.
The affidavit by Ashish Kumar, an assistant director general in the head office of the Aadhaar Card scheme, was filed in the apex court registry Monday. The matter will come up for hearing Tuesday.
Citing the benefit of social welfare schemes that poorer sections could get by using an Aadhaar Card, the affidavit said that possessing the card was a voluntary decision and not a compulsion.
Describing the prayers in the petitions before the apex court including by social activist Aruna Roy as "highly mischievous", the government said that they were intended to "to delay the implementation of a project whose aim is to promote inclusion and benefit marginalized sections of society who have no formal proof of identity.
"These people hence experience difficulties in accessing various welfare schemes" of the central and state governments, it said.
The affidavit sought the dismissal of PIL petition as "frivolous, misleading and legally incorrect" and has sought the imposition of "exemplary costs" on the petitioners.
Rebutting the claim of the petitioners, the affidavit said they have "failed to give any cogent reasons" in support of their assertion that Aadhaar based payment network would take decades before it covers its targeted beneficiaries.
"The fact is that in enrolling more than 53 crore residents in less than three years and setting a speed of enrolling 10 lakh residents per day, the UIDAI has conclusively established the ability to cover the entire population expeditiously and in a record time," said the affidavit.