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HomeNewsSupreme Court notice on PIL for Aadhaar to Assam's 'doubtful citizens'

Supreme Court notice on PIL for Aadhaar to Assam’s ‘doubtful citizens’

The Supreme Court has sought response of the Centre, Assam government, Registrar General of India and Unique Identification Authority on a public interest litigation for issuance of Aadhaar cards to nearly 2.7 million people listed as doubtful citizens in Assam’s National Register of Citizens published in August 2019. Incidentally, the Assam government had recently decided to provide Aadhaar cards to the 2.7 million and decided to move the Supreme Court for review of NRC too.

A bench comprising Justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha issued notices while hearing the PIL filed by All India Trinamool Congress MP Sushmita Dev. The respondents have been given a month and the case will be heard on May 17. Dev’s counsel Bishwajit Deb said that while persons whose names figure on the NRC first list published in December 2017 received Aadhaar cards, those included in the supplementary list were denied the same. The Aadhaar Act says each and every resident is eligible for a card and denial is tantamount to denial of basic rights, he contended. The biometric details of the aforesaid people are locked, denying them welfare scheme linked to the card.

A cabinet subcommittee of the Assam government has been formed to look into the problem of people whose names are not in the supplementary NRC published in August 2019. The All Assam Students Union along with other organisations had held a meeting with the ministerial sub-committee, comprising ministers Jogen Mohan Neog, Atul Bora and Pijush Hazarika recently. “As Aadhaar does not confer citizenship, there is no harm in providing it. In absence of Aadhaar, these people are barred from benefits of government schemes including subsidised rice and housing scheme,” Hazarika said after the meeting.

Panchayat minister Ranjeet Kumar Dass too had recently said in the assembly that the state government was aware of the problem and many eligible people were not getting benefits of welfare schemes due to the lack of Aadhaar cards.

An official in NRC said that a Supreme Court intervention would be required as it was monitoring NRC.

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