HC Raps Centre on Aadhaar for Differently Abled

"Why was the Aadhaar card made mandatory when the Centre can't provide the software for issuing it to each citizen?" the Justice asked.

Iris scan for Aadhaar card (Representative image). Credit: The Wire/Shome Base

New Delhi: The Calcutta High Court on Thursday asked the Centre why it had made the Aadhaar mandatory for availing services and benefits when it didn’t have the infrastructure for biometric scans of differently abled people. It directed the Centre to report to the court by November 13 what steps had been taken to introduce the software for physically challenged people, reported the Telegraph.

Justice Debangshu Basak was hearing Nupur Moitra’s petition. Her 27-year-old son Sanat has cerebral palsy which impairs his ability to look straight at the camera for the iris scan. Or give his fingerprints, reported the Times of India. Sanat has thrice been denied an Aadhaar card.

“Why should a citizen have to petition a high court to direct the Centre to issue an Aadhaar card to him? Why was the Aadhaar card made mandatory when the Centre can’t provide the software for issuing it to each citizen?” Justice Basak said, according to the Telegraph report.

Advocate Jayanta Narayan Chatterjee, representing the Moitras, said Sanat has 83% cerebral palsy, and cannot sit properly.

“After receiving mobile phone messages declaring December 31 as the last date for (linking one’s mobile number to) Aadhaar, My client had taken her son to several enrolment camps on a wheelchair. Each time, the authorities sent regret letters afterwards saying an Aadhaar card cannot be issued because the camps could not take (Sanat’s) photograph or fingerprints.”

He said Nupur had initially – even though unsuccessfully – tried to get the enrolment centre staff to come home to take Sanat’s biometric details. When the Centre was making linking of Aadhaar number mandatory for all services, how could it not provide a card to citizen, Chatterjee asked.

The Centre’s lawyer said some states were not in a position to use the special software yet but the system for physically challenged people would be introduced soon.

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