The Rajasthan High Court has directed the Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC) to not insist on Aadhaar for submission of online application of two aspirants of the Rajasthan Administrative Service and Allied Service 2018-19 who had approached the court after failing to submit their forms for want of Aadhaar and a mobile number registered with Aadhaar.
The Rajasthan High Court said so while issuing notice to the Rajasthan Government, the RPSC and the Unique Identification Authority of India on a petition moved by 23-year-old Narsingh Ram from Bikaner and his brother Mangi Lal, 25.
“In the meanwhile, the respondents are directed to allow the petitioners to submit their online application form without insisting upon Aadhar number while accepting other proof in support of identity of the petitioner as many be considered proper,” ordered Justice Veerender Singh Siradhana while seeking the response of the State and others in four weeks.
Both Narsingh and Mangi had applied for the Services as advertised in March but could not submit their applications online since it insisted on Aadhaar and sent one-time password on the mobile number registered with the Aadhaar.
Their counsel Tara Chand Verma of Human Rights Law Network informed the court that on March 27, the commission issued a press notification followed by a notification dated April 2 making AadhaAr mandatory for submitting application form for the Rajasthan Administrative Service and the Rajasthan Administrative Allied Service 2018-19.
A candidate was required to apply online and the application for the examination was to be done by one-time registration (OTR) on the website of the commission.
Verma said the OTR could only be done via an Aadhaar number and the verification of OTR was to be done by a one-time password sent on the mobile number as registered with Aadhaar.
On April 5, Narsingh requested for update of Aadhaar which was not completed by UIDAI.
On April 10, Mangi submitted online application form, but OTP was not issued.
The petitioners said the Aadhaar card scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory and prayed that the commission be directed to withdraw its press notification making registration through mobile number registered with Aadhaar mandatory.
They also prayed that rather than insisting on Aadhaar, they be allowed to submit any alternative identity proof issued by the Government of India, such as election card, passbook of a nationalized bank, etc.
They have also sought direction to UIDAI to complete the process of update of mobile number in Aadhaar information.
Verma said as per the March 27 press note date, Narsingh has submitted online application for OTR and also mentioned the registered mobile number which is yet to be updated in the Aadhar information by UIDAI and the same is not under his control and as such, his online application form cannot be refused on this ground.
The petitioner also contended that if the Aadhaar registered mobile number has been made mandatory, RPSC have to make special arrangement with the Unique Identification Authority of India to avoid hardship to applicants.
Verma also contended that since the matter pertaining to Aadhaar is pending before the Supreme Court, Aadhaar card scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by the apex court one way or the other.
He also said the March 27 press note is in “clear violation of order dated 11.08.2015 and 15.10.2015 of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) & Anr. V. Union of India &Ors., where repeatedly it was made clear that the Aadhar card Scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till it is finally decided by the Hon’ble Apex Court”.
He also cited All Bengal Minority Students Council and Anr. V. Union or India & Ors., wherein the Supreme Court had stayed the operation and implementation of letters dated 14.07.2006 for pre-matric scholarship scheme, post-matric scholarship scheme and merit-cum- means scholarship scheme to the extent they have made submission of Aadhaar mandatory.