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Plea to issue Aadhaar cards to those in final NRC list

The SC bench sought the response of the authorities on a petition filed by Sushmita Dev, questioning the denial of Aadhaar cards to these 21 lakh people
Supreme Court.
Supreme Court.
File photo

Our Legal Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 12.04.22, 04:04 AM

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre, Assam and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on a plea seeking the issue of Aadhaar cards to the nearly 21 lakh people who have been included in the state’s supplementary list of the National Registry of Citizens.

A bench of Justice U.U. Lalit, Justice Ravindra Bhat and Justice P.S. Narasimha sought the response of the authorities on a petition filed by Trinamul Congress MP Sushmita Dev, questioning the denial of Aadhaar cards to these 21 lakh people.

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Senior advocate Bishwajit Deb, appearing for the petitioner, pointed out that though the Aadhaar Act mandated the issue of cards to all eligible citizens, the same was being denied to these 21 lakh people.

The petition, filed through advocate Tulika Mukherjee, submitted that nearly 21 lakh people whose names were admitted into the NRC by way of the final supplementary list dated August 31, 2019, were not being provided their Aadhaar number.

“The Hon’ble Registrar of India, the State Government of Assam, and the Union of India are denying access to the biometrics of the individuals whose names have been incorporated in the supplementary list dated 31.08.2019 and are therefore not able to access the benefits as would they be entitled to by having an Aadhaar number,” the petition stated.

“It is submitted that not being able to obtain an Aadhaar number puts nearly 20 lakh people in jeopardy as they would not be able to access the state sanctioned schemes, subsidies and benefits as the same requires mandatory registration under the Aadhaar regime.

“…Non-availability of Aadhaar number creates major disadvantage in obtaining education access, application for jobs, application for PAN cards, ration card, opening of bank accounts etc and therefore impinging the ability of such people to have a right to livelihood, right to food, liberty, whether it be economical or political, self-determination and autonomy,” the petition added.

The petition has said:

⚫ The actions of the State create a class within a class by treating persons whose names have been registered in the supplementary list to be different from the person who has been registered in the first NRC list.

⚫ The actions of the UIDAI and the state government are in violation of the letter and spirit of the SOP framed under the guidance of the apex court under which the biometric information or Aadhaar number would be released once the final NRC is published.

⚫ Aadhaar Act or the Citizenship Amendment Act do not restrict grant of Aadhaar card to citizens once the person have their names registered under the NRC.

⚫ Citizenship Amendment Act only entitles the Registrar General to issue national identity cards and is not authorised to grant or restrict the sharing of biometrics for the purpose of registration under the Aadhaar Act.

⚫ The Aadhaar number is not a proof of citizenship and any person who has been a resident of the country for a period of 182 days in the preceding six months is eligible for enrolment under the Aadhaar regime.

“As Aadhaar numbers today are very intrinsic for access to basic needs and amenities provided by the state government, it is submitted that the fundamental rights to a livelihood, food and education are also being impinged by the state action,” the petition stated.



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