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Plea challenges Aadhaar ordinance: HC seeks Centre's stand

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The on Friday sought response of the Centre on a plea which has challenged constitutional validity of the recent Ordinance on the grounds that it was brought to "overturn" the decision regarding use of by the private sector.

A bench of and Justice A J Bhambhani asked the to indicate its stand by July 9, the next date of hearing.

The matter came up before the bench as the apex court on April 5 had directed the petitioners, both lawyers, to first move the high court.

A five-judge bench of the apex court had in September last year declared the Centre's flagship scheme as constitutionally valid but struck down some of its provisions including its linking with bank accounts, and school admissions.

The court had held that while Aadhaar would remain mandatory for filing of Income Tax returns and allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN), it would not be mandatory to link Aadhaar to and telecom service providers cannot seek its linking for mobile connections.

According to the petitioners, and Yadunandan Bansal, the ordinance allows private sector to use the Aadhaar infrastructure through the back door by amending the Indian Telegraph Act.

The petition has said that the ordinance amends the Telegraph Act to provide for voluntary use of Aadhaar for identity verification.

It has claimed that this allows telecom companies to use Aadhaar ID for identity verification.

The petitioners has also contended that there was "no extraordinary situation" which required passing of such an ordinance.

had last month given his assent to the Aadhaar Ordinance that allowed voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof for obtaining mobile SIM cards and opening

The ordinance was necessitated because Rajya Sabha could not approve a Bill after its passage by Lok Sabha.

The Cabinet had approved the promulgation of the ordinance to give effect to changes proposed in Aadhaar and two others legislations.

The amendments provide for stiff penalties for violation of norms set for the use of Aadhaar and violation of privacy.

It bans storing of core biometric information as well as Aadhaar number by service providers in cases of individuals who have voluntarily offered the national ID as a means of authentication.

However, the amendments make it clear that anyone not offering Aadhaar cannot be denied any service, be it opening of a or obtaining a mobile phone SIM card.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 12 2019. 16:45 IST