MUMBAI: Students cannot be penalised for not having obtained an Aadhaar card, the Bombay high court said on Monday.
Clarifying that the state government has not made Aadhaar number mandatory for students, the court refused to entertain a public interest litigation (PIL).
The PIL was filed by city resident Vickram Crishna, challenging the validity of a government resolution (GR) issued on April 21, 2015, by the school education department instructing schools to link Aadhaar numbers with school registration numbers of students, and to undertake a drive to ensure every student obtains an Aadhaar number.
Crishna’s counsel Chetan Mali submitted that the GR makes Aadhaar card mandatory for students admitted in schools in the state and the decision was contrary to the Apex Court’s. On October 15, 2015, the Supreme Court allowed the government to make voluntary use of Aadhaar cards for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, pension schemes, employee’s provident fund and Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojna. The Apex Court clarified that the use of the Aadhaar card was purely voluntary.
Advocate Mali submitted that the GR of April 2015 made it mandatory for children to produce their Aadhaar number. He said the GR also violated Article 21- A of the Constitution of India, which guarantees right to education of children, and the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education, 2009.
The division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Amjad Sayed did not find substance in the contention that the GR had made Aadhaar card mandatory for students. It, however, granted liberty to Crishna to bring to the notice of the court, if he finds any breach of the Supreme Court orders under the guise of implementation of the GR