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Assam NRC: SC issues notice on PIL seeking Aadhaar cards to persons included in NRC final supplementary list

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Central government, the Assam government and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on a plea seeking directions to issue Aadhaar cards to nearly 27 lakh persons who were added in the supplementary list of Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) published in August 2019. A Bench of Justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha asked the Centre, Assam and UIDAI to file a response on the plea filed by All India Trinamool Congress Member of Parliament Sushmita Dev. The apex court agreed to issue notice and posted the matter in May. The plea filed by Sushmita Dev stated that nearly 27 lakh people, whose names were admitted into the NRC by way of the final supplementary list dated August 31, 2019, are not being provided their Aadhaar numbers due to the fact that the NRC biometric data has been put on hold citing the statement of purpose/ modalities for disposal of claims and objections prepared by the Union of India. It said, consequently, these people are not able to access benefits available via Aadhaar.The plea submitted that once the person has been registered under the NRC, whether it be in the first draft List or the supplementary list, they will be entitled to the same benefits as that of a Citizen of India, and therefore, there exists no intelligible differentia between persons whose names appear in the NRC. "The State government of Assam, and the Union of India are denying access to the biometrics of the individuals whose names have been incorporated in the supplementary list dated August 31, 2019 and are therefore not able to access the benefits as would they be entitled to by having an Aadhaar Number," the plea said. They would not be able to access the state-sanctioned schemes, subsidies and benefits as the same requires mandatory registration under the Aadhaar regime, plea added. The plea further said, the non-availability of Aadhaar Number creates a major disadvantage in obtaining education access, application for jobs, application for PAN cards, ration card, opening of bank accounts etc. and therefore impinging the ability of such people to have a right to livelihood, right to food, liberty, whether it be economical or political, self-determination and autonomy. Such an action of the State entities to deny Aadhaar to such person is in violation to the principles laid down under Article 14 of the Constitution, it added.

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