The Managing Director
Ex-Servicemen’s Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS)
By E-mail to: <[email protected]>;
Subject: Mandatoriness of Aadhaar for ECHS and Contempt of Rule of Law and the orders of the Supreme Court of India
1. I am a member of the ECHS, with Membership Reg No.HY0000271, w.e.f 17/09/2004.
2. I have learned from the Officer -in-Charge ECHS Polyclinic, Mysuru, that Veteran ECHS members need to provide their Aadhaar number for their referral to empanelled hospitals / clinics or military hospitals, and that the software for the referral process cannot proceed without insertion of the Aadhaar number. Naturally, this requirement has been incorporated after due orders / circulars / directions from ECHS HQ.
3. I would like to bring to your kind attention that the ECHS system based upon this order denies a Veteran ECHS member of necessary, even perhaps vital, medical attention if he/she does not possess an Aadhaar number. You may kindly appreciate that a simple medical problem can snowball into a life-threatening situation or even death, because of denial of timely medical attention in an appropriate medical facility, for the sole reason that the Veteran ECHS member does not have an Aadhaar number.
4. I am bringing this matter to your very urgent and special notice because the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has, in its Order dated 23.09.2013, stated that “… no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card inspite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory”.
5. Further, a five-member bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India in its Order dated 15.10.2015, had reiterated all its previous orders. In particular I would draw your kind attention to the fact that the Court stated:
(a) “After hearing the learned Attorney General for India and other learned senior counsels, we are of the view that in paragraph 3 of the Order dated 11.08.2015, if we add, apart from the other two Schemes, namely, P.D.S. Scheme and the L.P.G. Distribution Scheme, the Schemes like The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), National Social Assistance Programme (Old Age Pensions, Widow Pensions, Disability Pensions) Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) for the present, it would not dilute the earlier order passed by this Court. Therefore, we now include the aforesaid Schemes apart from the other two Schemes that this Court has permitted in its earlier order dated 11.08.2015”.
(b) “We impress upon the Union of India that it shall strictly follow all the earlier orders passed by this Court commencing from23.09.2013”.
(c) “We will also make it clear that the Aadhaar card Scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by this Court one way or the other”.
6. You may kindly note that if a Veteran ECHS Member suffers deterioration of his health, even perhaps death, due to lack of timely and appropriate medical attention for the sole reason that he/she does not have an Aadhaar number, it will not only bring a bad name to the ECHS but may also attract criminal legal action against the official who issued the order, since it would be in contempt and violation of the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India concerning Aadhaar enrolment being voluntary and not mandatory.
7. In light of the foregoing, and now that the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has been brought to your attention, I very urgently request you to immediately rescind the order making Aadhaar number necessary for referral of Veteran ECHS members to empanelled hospitals / clinics or military hospitals, and amend the software in the ECHS Polyclinics accordingly, lest some unfortunate Veteran is affected adversely by the order.
8. I request acknowledgement of receipt of this letter by email to me at <[email protected]>.
Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd)
Copies by Email to:
1. The Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, ℅ Chief Justice’s Conference Secretariat, Supreme Court of India, Tilak Marg, New Delhi-110 001. Email: <[email protected]>;
3. Adjutant General, IHQ of MoD (Army), South Block, New Delhi-110011. Email: <[email protected]>;
4. Chief of the Army Staff, South Block, New Delhi-110011. Email: <[email protected]>;
5. Chief of the Naval Staff, South Block, New Delhi-110011. Email: <[email protected]>;