The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Centre asking why it has made submission of Aadhar Card mandatory for students from minority communities for availing of various Centrally-funded scholarships such as Pre-Matric Scholarship, Post-Matric Scholarship and Merit-cum-means-based Scholarship awarded by the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA).
The petition filed by Nasimuddin Educational & Charitable Trust through advocates Prashant Bhushan and Neha Rathi also challenged the decision of the Ministry to not entertain offline applications.
The High Court Bench headed by Chief Justice G. Rohini directed the Centre to respond within two weeks.
Advocate Neha Rathi argued that the said decision of the Ministry, which is reflected on the Ministry's website and the National Scholarship Portal, is arbitrary, discriminatory, violates Article 14 and is in complete contravention of the Constitutional Bench order of the Supreme Court in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) & Anr. V. Union Of India & Ors.
On July 14, 2016, the Union of India sent an official communication addressed to Chief Secretary/Administrators of all States asking them to take out advertisements for various National Scholarships such as Post-Matric Scholarship, Pre-Matric Scholarship and Merit-cum-means-based Scholarship of the government. The said letter asked the states to make Aadhar Card mandatory and also compels the students to avail of the scholarship only through an online application process.
In compliance with the said letter, various states published advertisements for the said scholarship in which Aadhar card has been made mandatory for students to avail of the scholarships and it is categorically stated that “offline applications will not be entertained”.
The petitioner submitted that guidelines provided by thr MoMA on its website under the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ regarding the Scholarship Schemes also state that a student cannot register online without having an Aadhar card.
According to the Petitioners, such a policy adopted by the government is unlawful and illegal because in the Constitution Bench judgment of the Supreme Court in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) & Anr. Vs. Union Of India, it was specifically held that Aadhar Card cannot be made mandatory for any citizen to avail of any benefit under any government scheme or scholarship.
Read the petition here.