Activists unhappy with SC’s Aadhaar Act order on social benefits

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New Delhi, Nov 5 (IANS) About 170 members of various campaigns working with vulnerable groups on Monday expressed disappointment with the Supreme Court’s September 20 order of upholding parts of the Aadhaar Act allowing the state to make the use of Aadhaar and biometric authentication mandatory for citizens to receive social benefits.

“We were hoping and expecting that the Supreme Court would decisively prohibit the mandatory use of Aadhaar for social benefits. A large body of evidence, provided to the court, shows that the mandatory use of Aadhaar and biometrics for this purpose is leading to large-scale exclusion, new forms of corruption, and extra delays and hardship for people in accessing their entitlement,” said a statement signed by 173 members of various human rights groups.

“We are therefore extremely disappointed that the court has upheld the constitutionality of section 7 of the Aadhaar Act,” it said.

The statement was issued by groups including various campaigns in the fields of education, health, food, employment and land rights.

The statement described the mandatory use of Aadhaar as an example of how the poor are unable to have their voice heard in the policy framework. “This imposition has led to extreme distress and even death in many cases.”

“The total number of people negatively affected by the mandatory use of Aadhaar runs into the hundreds of thousands and it is therefore not a small issue either in intensity or in numbers.”

“We intend to go to all political parties with a single agenda on Aadhaar, demanding that the Aadhaar Act be amended so that the mandatory or compulsory use of Aadhaar is clearly prohibited,” they said.



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