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SLP In SC Challenges Chhattisgarh HC Order Making Aadhaar Mandatory For Bail [Read Petition]

A Special Leave Petition has been filed before the Supreme Court challenging an order passed by the Chhattisgarh High Court which made it mandatory to obtain Aadhaar Cards of accused persons and sureties before issuing release warrant of a prisoner/accused in the State of Chhattisgarh.

The High Court had last week directed, “While examining the surety papers, the trial court shall necessarily obtain copy of the Aadhaar card of the accused as well as of the surety.” It had issued the directives in view of the rampant submission of forged revenue documents and sureties in Trial Courts.

The Petition filed by Advocate Peeyush Bhatia now challenges only the direction relating to submission of Aadhaar, emphasizing on the fact that the Supreme Court is still considering the challenge to the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.

It further contends that imposition of such condition will hamper the rights of the prisoners, submitting, “…the Hon’ble High Court failed to appreciate that there are thousands of prisoners and common persons who have been not been enrolled for Aadhar card and as such any mandatory verification of Aadhar card before release will violate their constitutional and statutory rights.”

Calling the condition “rather regressive than progressive in nature”, it then demands that the impugned portion of the judgment be stayed during the pendency of the Petition.

The impugned judgment had made reference to the case of Binoy Viswam v. Union of India & Ors., quoting the observation made therein that Aadhaar or UID, which has come to be known as the most advanced and sophisticated infrastructure, may aid law enforcement agencies in tackling terrorism to some extent and may also be helpful in checking and cracking crimes.

It had then issued the following directions:

(i) While examining the surety papers, the trial court shall necessarily obtain copy of the Aadhaar card of the accused as well as of the surety.

(ii) The Aadhaar card of the accused and the surety as well as genuineness of the revenue papers shall be verified by all the trial courts, as soon as the same are furnished, preferably within a period of one week from the date of its submission.

(iii) The release warrant shall be issued only after proper verification of the identity of the accused and the surety as well as the genuineness of the revenue/surety papers.

(iv) In the event the revenue/surety papers or the Aadhaar Card is found to be forged, the concerned trial Court shall forthwith lodge an FIR (First 5 Information Report) against the person who submitted the papers/Aadhaar details.

(v) The concerned District & Sessions Judge shall maintain a register/database in electronic form containing the case No., crime No., particulars of the accused, details of the Police Station, particulars of the person who has stood surety for the accused therein, the details of the property against which the surety is based, etc.

(vi) If a particular surety is found to have stood surety in many cases on the basis of same property papers, the same shall be rejected, if it is involved in more than two cases.

(vii) The concerned Revenue Officer and the Station House Officer shall cooperate with the trial court in course of verification of revenue/surety papers as well as the Aadhaar details of the accused and the surety.

(viii) All the trial courts shall meticulously follow these directions and shall certify in the order sheet of the respective case that “the verification of papers has been done in accordance with the order passed by the High Court of Chhattisgarh in M.Cr.C No. 3957 of 2017 (Ved Prakash Gupta @ Gudda v. State of Chhattisgarh)”.

(ix) If such certification is not made by the trial Court, disciplinary action may be initiated against the erring Presiding Officer.

Read the Petition Here

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