Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Judge Bench comprising of Rajiv Sharma, ACJ and Manoj Kumar Tiwari, J. disposed of a PIL for the rights of people with disabilities.

The petitioner through his letter sought to draw the attention of the court towards the grievances of the people who had faced problems under the Aadhaar regime whereby the aadhaar cards could not be accessed by them due to their disability.

Considering it to be a sensitive matter the Court took suo motu cognizance of the same by appraising the principle of lex non cogit ed impossibilia (law does not enforce impossibilities) and stated that the approach of the entire machinery should be humane plus it should evolve a process itself taking into consideration the difficulties faced by the disabled persons.

Accordingly, the Court directed the District Magistrate, Almora to ensure that the Aadhaar Cards of the said persons were prepared within three days from this date and, thereafter, respondent shall release the disability pension to them within seven days along with arrears.[Laxman Singh Negi v. State of Uttrakhand, 2018 SCC OnLine Utt 794, Order dated 29-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: In the order passed by Prashant Kumar Mishra, J., addressed a criminal petition filed on the basis of Paper Under Disposal (PUD) referred by the District & Sessions Judge Bilaspur, seeking guidelines on certain difficulties faced by the trial Judges on the presentation of forged sureties to obtain bail and release order on the basis of forged revenue papers or by impersonating the real surety. The Court modified its order that made Aadhaar card of the accused as well as surety mandatory before obtaining bail. Now the surety can submit any document of identification like voter ID, PAN, passport.

The brief facts being that the applicant stood surety in the Court of Special Judge by impersonating some other person to obtain a bail or release order, which happened to be true when investigated and verified by the Tahsildar concerned and subsequently the Court of Special Judge had lodged a report against the applicant for offences under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the Penal Code, 1860.

The learned counsel gave their inputs on the above subject-matter that this has become a frequent practice, which needs to be nipped in the bud and to be controlled and regulated before it reaches enormous proportion and hence prayed to the Court to direct the trial courts to ensure obtaining papers of identification at the time of approving the surety documents for issuance of release warrants.

The Court referring to the Supreme Court judgment in Moti Ram v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (1978) 4 SCC 47 added that the submission of Aadhar Card may not be made mandatory. Objection has also been raised to the condition where this Court has put a bar that, one surety cannot stand in more than two cases by introducing Section 441-A as introduced by Act No. 25 of 2005, w.e.f 23.06.2006 which the presiding officer shall strictly follow.

Further, the learned counsel who have suggested modification made a common pitch for immediate release of the accused after the submission of surety papers making the process of verification subsequent to the release within a particular time frame.

The Court held that the directions in substitution of the previous directions issued in paragraph 10 of the order dated 05.01.2018 passed in M.CrC No. 3957 of 2017 shall be followed and that after doing so the Presiding Officer shall certify in the order sheet of the case that the verification of the papers/documents has been done in accordance with the order passed by this Court. [Ved Prakash Gupta v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2018 SCC OnLine Chh 75, decided on 01-02-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: While deciding a case where it was contended by the petitioner that Aadhar card was proof of his citizenship, the Single Bench of Joymalya Bagchi, J. held that in accordance with Section 9 of the Aadhar Act, the Aadhaar card by itself shall not confer any right of  proof of citizenship or domicile in respect of the holder thereto.

It was submitted by the petioner that aadhar card was submitted to him in view of his long residence in the country. It was argued by the State that relying on the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016  issuance of aadhar card cannot be treated as a proof of citizenship . The Court reaffirming the State’s view held that under Section 9 of said Act,  Adhaar Card by itself shall not confer any right of citizenship to petitioner.

Apart from this the petitioner also placed reliance of his claim of his citizenship on the residence certificate issued by a representative of a local body. The Court also did away with this claim by holding the letter issued by the representative of the local body as to the residence of the petitioner also does not, ipso facto, confer citizenship on the petitioner. [In Re, Rani Mistri, 2016 SCC OnLine Cal 8283, decided on 30.11.2016]

Tribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Central Information Commission (CIC):CIC has held that refusing to issue Caste Certificate on the ground of not having Aadhar card is unlawful and against the orders of the Supreme Court. The order came upon an appeal filed by a man who applied for caste certificate in 2012 when Aadhar card was not an essential requirement to obtain it but was denied the same by the concerned Department. It was alleged that Department failed to make any public announcement about the requirement of Aadhar card for issuing the caste certificate which should have been done in accordance with the proactive disclosure clause of the RTI Act. The Department submitted that due to the major change in the requirement for caste certificate, the application was rejected by the computer itself as the new software does not accept the applications without aadhar card number. While noting that it was a serious policy issue which was affecting the people and creating the difficulties in getting the caste certificate, CIC held that mechanical rejection of application, noncompliance of Section 4(1)(c) and (d) of RTI Act, imposing new conditions without prior information to the people are violations of RTI Act which would attract the penalty proceedings. While referring to the decision of Supreme Court, CIC observed that whether a person is eligible to get Aadhar card or not, he would certainly be eligible to get certification of caste and the PIO cannot take the excuse of absence of Aadhar card to deny the rights of the people. The Commission directed the respondents to declare reasons for the new policy/administrative decision on its website and also to inform the applicant about fate of his application for caste certificate as asked under RTI. Indra Singh v. Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Patel Nagar, Delhi, 2014 SCC OnLine CIC 5982, decided on December 8, 2014)