New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Tuesday tagged to earlier petitions a writ petition challenging the Centre’s 18 notifications making Aadhaar mandatory after June 30 for availing any benefits and entitlements.
The bench of Justice A K Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan also directed the petitioners to mention this matter before the Chief Justice since other petitions are already pending for constitution of a bench to determine the validity of the Aadhaar scheme and Aadhaar Act.
On May 4, the same bench had reserved its verdict on linking of the Aadhaar card with PAN card and making it mandatory in filing of the income tax returns, directing the parties concerned to file written submissions by Tuesday.
Many rights activists have expressed horror over Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi asserting that Aadhaar card will be made mandatory since when the government provides some facilities, it is entitled to have your identity.
They described as the government’s open claim of exerting coercion in his contention that right to privacy and a citizen’s absolute right over own body are bogus amount to denying moral and natural rights.
In the fresh petition, the petitioners wanted the court to declare the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, benefits) Act as unconstitutional and stay the notifications insisting on Aadhaar for availing benefits of mid-day meal, disability pension, Bhopal gas victims’ benefit, etc.
The petition has been filed by two woman activists — Shanta Sinha and Kalyani Sen Menon.
Sinha, a Padma Shri awardee in 1998 and Ramon Magsasay Award in 2003, was the Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) for two consecutive terms from 2007 to 2013. Menon is a feminist researcher working for over 25 years on issues of women’s rights.
Her work focuses on the impacts of economic policies on the lives of women from marginalised and disadvantaged groups.
The notifications challenged by them include making Aadhaar mandatory for hot cooked meals to schoolchildren under mid-day meal scheme, several scholarships for disabled students and SC, ST and OBC students, schemes for women rescued from trafficking, bonded labourers, and relief for Bhopal gas leak victims.
The notifications making possession of an Aadhaar number, or proof of enrolment in Aadhaar database, mandatory would result in denial of benefits to persons who are otherwise legally entitled to the benefits, the petitioners contended.
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