Skip to main content

Making aadhaar compulsory for Central entrance test 'violates' Supreme Court order

Counterview Desk

A human rights group, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL), has said that, violating the Supreme Court judgment, the Union education ministry’s National Testing Agency (NTA) went ahead with making mandatory the 12-digit Unique Identification (UID)/ Aadhaar Number for registering under the Central University Entrance Test (CUET).
Citing a cyber security researcher, who has sought “alternative option for registration and application without UID/Aadhaar Number”, CFCL in a statement said, the Union Education Minister “ought to instruct NTA to ensure compliance with the judgement of the Supreme Court on Aadhaar Act, UIDAI’s circular of September 2018, and Union Education Minister's assurance in Parliament on July 26, 2023 in order to ensure that no student/ candidate is denied a viable alternative and equitable access to the registration process for CUET and other NTA's tests.”
“This is required to safeguard the fundamental right to education recognized under Article 21 of our Constitution”, it added.

Text:

In contempt of Supreme Court's judgement against mandatory 12-digit Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar Number for admission in education institutions and in spite of Union Education Minister’s assurance, students are unable to undertake registration to fill application form for Central University Entrance Test (CUET) for admission to different programmes of 200 Central Universities without 12-digit Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar Number.
Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) strongly disapproves of such illegitimate, illegal and questionable conduct of National Testing Agency (NTA), a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, one of the laws under which NGOs are registered in general. It was registered/established by Department of Higher Education, Union Ministry of Education in 2018.
Avinav Kumar, a cyber security researcher has written a letter dated March 25, 2024 to Subodh Kumar Singh, Director General, National Testing Agency (NTA), Department of Higher Education, Union Ministry of Education seeking alternative option for registration and application without UID/Aadhaar Number.
The following facts are relevant to NTA's conduct:
1. The CUET UG 2024 registration procedure on the NTA website is ridden with an engineered problem. While registering for filling the CUCET Form. It has been noticed that six out of the eight registration options require the input of an UID/Aadhaar Number for the registration process to be completed. The two other alternative options relate to registration using passport information, which one does not have.
2. Mandatory requirement of UID/Aadhaar Number is in manifest violation of the 1448 page long judgement of Supreme Court's 5-Judge Constitution Bench on UID/Aadhaar Number under Aadhaar Act, 2016.
3. The directions given at page numbers 401-402, paragraph 332 of the Supreme Court's judgement dated 26 September, 2018 creates a legal compulsion for review and revision of the orders which make UID/Aadhaar Number compulsory.
4. The judgement dated 26 September, 2018 has specifically held that Aadhaar Number UID/Aadhaar Number cannot be made mandatory, children cannot be denied benefits for lack of Aadhaar Number (See Page No. 393, para 325; Page No. 401, para 332). The judgment states “At the same time, we hope that the respondents (Union of India and others) shall not unduly expand the scope of ‘subsidies, services and benefits’ thereby widening the net of Aadhaar, where it is not permitted otherwise.” (Page No. 391). At para 331 of the judgment, the Court has held the following:
"331. After considering the matter in depth and having regard to the discussion aforesaid, we hold as under:
(a) For the enrolment of children under the Aadhaar Act, it would be essential to have the consent of their parents/guardian.
(b) On attaining the age of majority, such children who are enrolled under Aadhaar with the consent of their parents, shall be given the right to exit from Aadhaar, if they so choose.
(c) Insofar as the school admissions of children are concerned, requirement of Aadhaar would not be compulsory as it is neither a service nor subsidy. Further, having regard to the fact that a child between the age of 6 to 14 years has the fundamental right to education under Article 21A of the Constitution, school admission cannot be treated as ‘benefit’ as well.
(d) Benefits to children between 6 to 14 years under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, likewise, shall not require mandatory Aadhaar enrolment.
(e) For availing the benefits of other welfare schemes which are covered by Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, though enrolment number can be insisted, it would be subject to the consent of the parents, as mentioned in (a) above.
(f) We also clarify that no child shall be denied benefit of any of these schemes if, for some reasons, she is not able to produce the Aadhaar Number and the benefit shall be given by verifying the identity on the basis of any other documents. We may record that a statement to this effect was also made by Mr. K.K. Venugopal, learned Attorney General for India, at the Bar."
Children cannot be denied benefits for lack of Aadhaar (See Page No. 393, para 325; Page No. 401, para 332).
5. Para 3 of the Circular (F.No. 4(4)/57/146/2012/E&U) of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India dated September 5 2018 was cited by the Union Ministry of Education in the Parliament which states the following:
"It must be ensured that no children are deprived/denied of their due benefits or rights for want of Aadhaar. Some instances have come to our notice that few schools are denying admission to children for want of Aadhaar. Such denials are invalid and not permitted under the law. It is also to be ensured that no child should be deprived/denied of their due benefits or rights for want of Aadhaar. No child should be denied admission and other facilities for lack of Aadhaar." Referring to this circular, Hon'ble Union Minister informed the Parliament that "As per the circular dated 05.09.2018 issued by Unique Identification Authority of India, children may not be deprived/denied of their due benefits or rights for want of Aadhaar. No child should be denied admission and other facilities for lack of Aadhaar. The Department of School Education and Literacy has also issued a notification dated 29.11.2021 stating that no eligible child shall be denied benefit under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Samagra Shiksha in case of failure to establish his identity by undergoing authentication or furnishing proof of possession of Aadhar Number."
It is evident from the above mentioned indisputable judgement of the Hon’ble Court that there is a compelling legal obligation on the part of the NTA to rectify/modify its online registration and application form to enable registration for filling the CUET application form and other forms of NTA without 12-digit Unique Identification (UID)/Aadhaar Number.
This creates an immediate and urgent necessity for providing a substitute registration method – such as email or mobile authentication for students who do not have an UID/ Aadhaar Number or a valid passport to register for CUET UG 2024 and other NTA tests. The prompt implementation of an alternative registration avenue, distinct from the current aforementioned options alone, can facilitate students who do not possess either an UID/ Aadhaar Number or a valid passport before the deadline for CUET 2024 registration process ends on March 26, 2024.
Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) demands that Union Education Minister ought to instruct NTA to ensure compliance with the judgement of Supreme Court on Aadhaar Act, UIDAI’s circular of September 2018 and Union Education Minister's assurance in Parliament on July 26, 2023 in order to ensure that no student/candidate is denied a viable alternative and equitable access to the registration process for CUET and other NTA's tests. This is required to safeguard the fundamental right to education recognized under Article 21 of our Constitution.

Comments

TRENDING

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

Dadi, poti discuss 'injustice' under 10 yr Modi rule: Video campaign goes viral

By Our Representative  Watan Ki Raah Mein, a civil society campaign of the Samvidhan Bachao Nagrik Abhiyan, has released a short video conversation on social media of an exchange of letters between a dadi and her poti discussing poverty, unemployment, corruption and women’s safety. The letters also raise the question of  suppression of our fundamental rights of speech, expression and justice. 

'Enough evidence': Covid vaccines impacted women's reproductive health

By Deepika*  In 2024, the news outlets have suddenly started reporting about covid vaccine side effects in a very extensive manner. Sadly, the damage is already done.

'Uncertainty in Iran': Raisi brokered crucial Chabahar Port deal with India

By Pranjal Pandey*  Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian President, and the country’s foreign minister were tragically found deceased on May 20, 2024, shortly after their helicopter crashed in foggy conditions. In response, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly appointed a relatively unknown vice president as the interim leader.

Informal, outdoor workers 'excluded': Govt of India's excessive heat policies

Counterview Desk  Top civil rights network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), has demanded urgent government action to protect millions of outdoor workers from extreme heat and heatwaves, insisting declaration of heatwaves as climatic disaster.

Right to health and informed consent: Why 'revisit' Mission Indradhanush?

By Deepika*  Extending on to the subject of Misleading ads and acting responsibly , another aspect that needs highlighting is our right to health and to be made aware of quality of products, as pointed out by the Supreme Court.

Indian authorities 'evading' discussion on battery energy storage system

By Shankar Sharma*  In the larger context of the ever growing need and importance of renewable energy sources for a sustainable energy/ electricity sector in our country, the critical role of energy storage systems, especially the battery energy storage system (BESS), is being emphasised frequently at the global level, such as the one by  the International Energy Agency (IEA). Unfortunately, our authorities in India seem not to attach the same level of importance, which the BESS deserves.