Over 300 human rights and other activists and concerned citizens from across the country have said that the exclusion caused by the mandatory use of Aadhaar amounts “to an emergency” and therefore, will make it an electoral issue. The group provided ‘a large body of evidence’ to the court to show demonstrate this. Access the group’s statement here: Statement on Aadhaar judgement (pdf).
In a press statement, the group expressed its disappointment over the Supreme Court’s verdict which upheld the constitutionality of section 7 of the Aadhaar Act. This section allows the state to make the use of Aadhaar and biometric authentication mandatory for citizens to receive social benefits.
The group’s concerns
- The mandatory use of Aadhaar and biometrics for availing social welfare schemes is leading to large-scale exclusion, new forms of corruption, extra delays and hardship for people accessing their entitlements.
- Thousands of cases of extreme distress being faced by people who have to use their biometrics to authenticate themselves to receive essential benefits.
- In places like Rajasthan and Jharkhand where biometric authentication has been made mandatory for accessing National Food Security Act (NFSA) benefits, these numbers are in lakhs. In some cases, the imposition has even led to death.
- Aadhaar has also led to many problems in the linking of bank accounts and people’s entitlements going into the wrong accounts.
- The total number of people negatively affected by the mandatory use of Aadhaar runs into hundreds of thousands
Next course of action
In its statement the group said, “We intend to ask people on the ground who have been the victims of this huge experiment to make it clear during the elections that they will target parties who have thrust the mandatory use of Aadhaar upon them.”
The group intends to
- Go to all political parties with a single agenda on Aadhaar, demanding that the Aadhaar Act be amended to prohibit the mandatory or compulsory use of Aadhaar.
- Announce a collective campaign, with a demand that all political parties make a categorical commitment to amend the Aadhaar Act so that there is no mandatory use of biometric authentication or Aadhaar for social benefits.