The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear on October 8 Centre's plea seeking modification of an earlier order that Aadhaar card is not mandatory and no person should suffer for want of it in getting benefits of government schemes.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MOPNG), in its application, has sought "clarification or modification" of the order for continuing with its Direct Benefit Transfer for Liquefied Petroleum Gas Consumers (DBTL) scheme which can be availed by only those persons who have secured Aadhaar cards.
A bench comprising Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi considered the brief submission of Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran, appearing for the Centre and said, "List it on Tuesday."
"We seek modification of the order which said that Aadhaar card is not mandatory," the law officer said.
A bench headed by Justice B S Chauhan had on September 23 said, "In the meanwhile, no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card in spite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory and when any person applies to get the Aadhaar card voluntarily, it may be checked whether that person is entitled for it under the law and it should not be given to any illegal immigrant."
The order had come during the hearing of a PIL filed by Justice K Puttaswamy, former High Court judge, seeking to restrain the Centre, Planning Commission and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) from issuing Aadhaar cards by way of an executive order of January 28, 2009.
The MOPNG, in its plea, said the Aadhaar card was not necessary for the consumers who want to purchase unsubsidised LPG cylinders from the oil companies but it is necessary for supply of subsidised cylinders in 54 districts in the country.
"Keeping in mind the objectives for which the DBTL scheme has been launched and implemented and the absolute necessity of the Aadhaar card to ensure its successful implementation, this court may be pleased to clarify or modify its order dated 23.09.2013 to state that while no one may be denied domestic LPG cylinders at market rates in the absence of Aadhaar cards, the Aadhaar card may be allowed to be mandatorily sought by the MOPNG to make subsidy payments to those entitled to the same under the DBTL scheme with a view to eliminate diversion of subsidised cylinders into black market," the application said.
The ministry said that its DBTL scheme, launched on June 1 this year, was currently in operation in 54 districts and it "mandatorily requires the beneficiary to possess a Unique Identification for receiving subsidy".
The Aadhaar card was not needed for only those who are "seeking subsidy on supply of market price cylinders (upto nine (9) cylinders per annum)" and under the scheme, the subsidy amount is transferred directly into the bank account of the consumer, it said.
"The DBTL scheme has been launched to ensure that the LPG consumers' entitlement is not diverted and to prevent leakage in the LPG subsidy. The LPG subsidy amounted to Rs 39,558 crores during 2012-13," it said.
It said that the average market price of a domestic LPG cylinder is Rs 943.36 and the retail price of the same is Rs 410.50 and "the subsidy works out to Rs 555.55 per subsidized cylinder," it said, adding that to avoid diversion of funds the modification of the order was needed.