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.”

‘Food security bill before cabinet soon’

The food security bill will go to the cabinet very soon for approval, the food ministry said Wednesday, calling upon the states to prepare for its implementation.

Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister K.V. Thomas Wednesday chaired a meeting with state ministers to discuss preparedness for enactment of the bill, which is a flagship scheme of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

‘It (the bill) will go to the cabinet for approval very soon,’ a ministry spokesperson said.Food ministers and food secretaries of Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh were present at the meeting which was held in the backdrop of record production and procurement of foodgrains by state governments and Food Corporation of India (FCI).The meeting discussed PDS (public distribution system) reforms and computerization of PDS in states.

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilakeni, who was also present, urged the states to integrate ‘Aadhar’ infrastructure with the PDS network to computerise operations.

Thomas stressed that states should increase their uplift of foodgrains under above poverty line (APL) and below poverty line (BPL) categories to free storage space.The spokesman said of 73 lakh metric tonnes of storage capacity approved under the Private Entrepreneurs Guarantee Scheme (PEG), 63 lakh tonne of foodgrains capacity has been sanctioned in states whose representatives were present at the meeting.

‘All the states were requested to complete the work in a time bound manner and see to it that the proposed storage capacity is made available by next year,’ the spokesperson said.

State governments were also urged enhance storage for their own use and monitor foodgrains stocks kept in open.The states called for early settlement of their procurement claims relating to FCI.

The spokesperson said Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh called for steps to move surplus foodgains to consuming states on a priority basis to free storage space and prepare for ensuing paddy procurement season.