The Supreme Court said on Wednesday that an Aadhaar authentication failure could lead to a denial of benefits to the needy and this concern raised by the petitioners challenging the unique identification scheme would have to betaken seriously.
Justice DY Chandrachud, a member of a Constitution bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra that is hearing a clutch of petitions against the validity of Aadhaar, said the issue raised by the petitioners was genuine.
Responding to a submission by advocate Shyam Divan, who represents petitioner Kalyani Shankar Menon, that people would be refused benefits if they fail to authenticate their Aadhaar numbers, the judge said: “It’s not largesse, it’s not charity. We have to find answers for this.”
Justice Chandrachud’s remarks came at a time when Diwan was giving his rejoinder to the government and the Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI) defence of the Aadhaar scheme. The rebuttals are expected to end this week.
The judge narrated a personal experience to convey his concern over how authentication failures could be deprived of the benefits they were entitled to.
Summing up his rejoinder, Divan also urged the court to exclude all programmes related to children, rehabilitation and food-related schemes from the requirement of Aadhaar authentication. He said government concern over potential diversion of funds can be addressed by allowing the citizens to use other identity documents.