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Bank Record Verification to Facilitate Pension for Those Without Aadhaar: Allahabad HC Ruling

Pensioners can now use bank passbooks instead of mobile or Aadhaar for identity verification.

Pensions can be paid to people without mobile phones or Aadhaar cards by verifying their identities through bank records, as ruled by the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court, Hindustan Times reported.

The petitioners behind this PIL (Public Interest Litigation) sought court orders to resume their pension payments. , which had allegedly been stalled. Claiming that they did not own mobile numbers or Aadhaar cards due to their “financial status/lack of identification marks”, they remained open to being verified through any other means. The petitioners claimed that some petitioners (who had been allegedly deprived of their pensions) had died while the case remained pending.

The state government argued that no material was available to prove that the pension had actually “started” or been disbursed to the petitioners. It argued that the burden was on the petitioners to establish that they were being paid a pension, which had then been stopped. That being said, the state government was open to identity verification methods aside from Aadhaar or mobile verification. For example, the petitioners’ identity could be confirmed through their bank account numbers, as well as the photos pasted in their passbooks.

Chief Justice Arun Bhansali and Justice A.R. Masoodi subsequently held that the petitioners could appear before Unnao district’s social welfare officer later this week with their passbooks, account numbers, or other materials indicating that they were being paid their pensions before the halt. The officer should rely on these documents to determine the genuineness of the petitioners’ claims, and in case they are not being paid, the pension should be disbursed to them. However, the officer should not insist on the production of mobile numbers or Aadhaar cards in this case, the court’s order added.

Notably, the Unique Identification Authority of India, which is in charge of running India’s Aadhaar scheme, has clarified that the card cannot be used to prove a person’s date of birth. However, it can be used to prove residence, as well as identity, subject to authentication.

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