Skip to main content

Aadhaar not compulsory: Union human resources ministry "clarifies" after civil rights NGO writes to apex court

By Our Representative
Responding to letters of Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) to the Chief Justice of India, Union Minister of Human Resource Development and Secretary, University Grants Commission (UGC), and contempt applications in the Supreme Court, the Universities Grants Commission (UGC) has “clarified” students who have applied or wishing to apply for scholarship/fellowship “shall not be denied benefit thereof due to non-availability of Aadhaar No./Card.”
CFCL had sent letters to the three authorities on August 26, 2016, July 12, 2016 and 2nd July, 2016, drawing attention of the apex court view taken in 2014 that “no person shall be deprived of any service for want of Aadhaar number in case he/she is otherwise eligible/entitled.” 
It directed “all the authorities are directed to modify their forms/circulars/likes so as to not compulsorily require the Aadhaar number in order to meet the requirement of the interim order passed by this Court forthwith.”
The apex court confirmed its order October 15, 2015 saying its part order would remain in force till the time court itself does not waive it. Says CFCL’s Gopal Krishna in a statement, “The Court’s order makes it clear that UID/ aadhaar remains voluntary.”
The latest Government of India decision to take back its earlier decision to make Aadhaar card for UGC scholarships and fellowships is likely to adversely affect other government ministries which had sought to make Aadhaar/UID compulsory.
Already, Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Chief Executive Officer, Unique Identify Authority of India (UIDAI), has said that “at least from the UIDAI side, we have not said it shall be mandatory.”
According to Krishna, the Government of India has “illegitimately and illegally” been trying to make UID/Aadhaar Number mandatory by making it structurally irreversible outwitting Court’s directions although the very first promise which legally questionable UIDAI made in its UID/Aadhaar Enrolment Form is/was that it is “free and voluntary”.
“Government’s notification of September 12, 2016 also underlines it”, he says, though regretting, “The fact is that it is neither free nor voluntary. It is not free because the foreign companies involved are admittedly charging Rs 2.75 per enrolment. Central, State Governments and other agencies have been illegally seeding UID/Aadhaar in their IT systems to make it structurally mandatory.”
Pointing out that “it is only Court’s order that has kept UID/Aadhaar voluntary”, Krishna says, “Attempts to make UID/Aadhaar compulsory have emerged as an act of bullying by the government agencies and turning citizens into subjects by making right to have inalienable, natural, fundamental and constitutional rights conditional on biometric identification.”
“The revision of the UGC’s order by central government ahead of the upcoming hearing in the Supreme Court vindicates the position of CFCL and eminent citizens who have issued Statement of Concern and Public Statement seeking halting of UID/Aadhaar project”, Gopal claims.
He adds, “This revision reveals that the Central government, state governments and other agencies who have been attempting to make it mandatory have been manifestly been wrong.”
Krishna believes, In view of the “urgency” admitted and recorded by Court’s Bench of five judges headed by Chief Justice of India to the biometric UID/Aadhaar Number case, “it appears inappropriate that even as the apex Court is to determine the legal status of UID/Aadhaar, Indian residents are being coerced to accept 12 Digit Biometric UID/Aadhaar Number as a fait accompli.”

Comments

TRENDING

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.