HC seeks Centre’s response on plea to use Aadhaar details of missing persons

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today sought the Centre’s response on a PIL seeking direction to utilise biometric and Aadhaar details of missing persons, including children, aged and mentally challenged, so that they can be re-united with their families.

Notice issued to the Ministry of Home Affairs by a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and C Hari Shankar on the plea which also sought direction to the authorities to spread awareness in this regard to track the pre-existed biometrics and Aadhaar details for re-uniting missing persons with their families across country.
The bench asked the ministry to file an action taken report on the representation made by petitioner advocate Amit Sahni to the authorities and listed the matter for further hearing on November 13.

The petition said the Centre be directed to issue appropriate and mandatory directions to the authorities for utilising biometric/Aadhaar of missing children, old aged persons and mentally challenged persons immediately for the purpose of tracing and re-uniting them with their families as and when they are rescued by any department.
It said the petitioner was not challenging any question of law, which is already pending adjudication before the Supreme Court, that is, the constitutional validity of Aadhaar.
“There have been many debates regarding Aadhaar and the issue of its constitutional validity is pending before the Supreme Court of India but the same is very useful for tracing missing persons, if the Aadhaar of such missing persons is pre-existed,” it said.

The plea referred to the statistics of National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2016 as per which the total missing persons are 5,49,008 and untraced ones are 3,19,627 .

Sahni also referred to a judicial order in which by the intervention of a trial court, a 31-year-old mentally challenged woman was re-united with her family in Rajasthan through Aadhaar.
In that case, a mentally challenged woman was rescued by Delhi Police and produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra, who directed the authorities to help the victim to undergo the process of Aadhaar, which revealed that her biometric records pre-existed in the Aadhaar database.

The police obtained her details from the Unique Identification Authority of India after which she the woman was re-united with her family.

Centre seeks Supreme Court’s permission for PowerPoint presentation on Aadhaar

The Centre today sought the Supreme Court’s permission to allow the CEO of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for a PowerPoint presentation on Aadhaar scheme in the court to allay concerns.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra, hearing a number of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and its enabling Act, said he will fix the time for the presentation after discussing the matter with other judges of the five-judge constitution bench he is heading.

The bench said there are several technical aspects related to the Aadhaar scheme such as the surveillance, data security and exclusion of certain people from receiving benefits for the want of either authentication or the lack of Aadhaar number.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, who argued for the Centre, said the UIDAI chief executive may deal with technical aspects with more clarity.

He said the Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution have two aspects. One deals with rights like Right to Food and Right to Education and the other pertains to Freedom of Conscience and Right to Privacy, Venugopal said.

The question is which aspect will prevail, he said, adding that the fundamental rights like the Right to Life should prevail over Right to Conscience and Privacy.

He is continuing with his submission.

The Supreme Court yesterday took note of the submission that a person cannot be asked to part with personal information under the Aadhaar scheme on the ground of freedom of right to religion, and asked can a person refuse to follow the law in secular matters such as filing of income-tax returns.

The constitution bench was told that a boy was denied admission in a school after his father refused to give biometric details for Aadhaar on grounds that their religion does not permit it.

“In secular matters, can you say that I will not opt for it. For example, can a person refuse to opt for the Income-Tax saying that his conscience does not allow it,” the bench said.

Earlier, the apex court was told that the collection of biometric details of citizens by the UIDAI from 2010 onwards till 2016, when the enabling Aadhaar law came into force, was “illegal” and “invalid” and the collected data deserved to be destroyed.

The court has extended the March 31 deadline for linking of Aadhaar to avail various services and welfare schemes run by the government until it delivers its verdict on the validity of the 12-digit biometric number and its enabling law

Plea against ‘Aadhaar’; HC asks Delhi govt to respond

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Aadhaar, Delhi, Unique Identification Authority of India, High court, Ashutosh Chandola, Aadhaar card, Planning Commission,  public services from the Government, voter I-Card, passport

New Delhi: The city government has been asked by the High court here in Delhi to respond to a plea seeking quashing of its executive orders that made Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) or ‘Aadhaar’ compulsory for availing various public services here.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher issued the notice to the Delhi government on a plea of Ashutosh Chandola that Aadhaar card, which was made optional by the Planning Commission, has now been made mandatory for availing benefits and public services in the national capital.

“Issue a writ in the nature of certiorari to quash executive orders…passed by the Delhi Government vide which Aadhaar has been mandatory for availing all public services from the Government of NCT of Delhi,” according to the petition.

It also said a direction be given to the government to accept other identity and address proofs such as voter I-Card, passport and other documents, prescribed by the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, for availing public services in Delhi.

“The entire (Aadhaar) project (of Planning Commission) is meant to be voluntary in nature and this is reflected in the Aadhaar enrolment form which clearly mentions that the Aadhaar enrolment is free and voluntary,” according to it.

The project was launched to empower the poor, who lack ID proofs, in accessing various welfare and other services. The Government, however, issued executive orders and made Aadhaar mandatory for obtaining various certificates relating to “caste, domicile, income, death and birth.”

Aadhaar has also been made necessary for registration of various documents relating to property, will and marriages, the petition said. It said the constitutional validity of UIDAI has been challenged in the Supreme Court and till the case is decided, “the burden of obtaining an Aadhaar should not be made mandatory on the public for availing public services.”