The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Delhi government to reply to a plea seeking quashing of its executive orders to make Aadhar cards compulsory for the public to avail of various benefits and services.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher issued a notice to the Delhi government, seeking its view on a public interest litigation that termed the executive orders issued by the government of making the cards mandatory "illegal". Petitioner Ashutosh Chadola contended that the planning commission has said the cards were only optional and no one can be forced to get the card.
The petition sought a direction to the government to accept other identity and address proofs such as voter ID card, passport and other documents, prescribed by the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, for availing public services in Delhi.
"The entire (Aadhaar) project (of Planning Commission) is meant to be voluntary in nature and this is reflected in the Aadhar enrolment form that clearly mentions that the Aadhar enrolment is free and voluntary," it said.
The petition contended that the project was launched to empower the poor, who lack ID proofs, in accessing various welfare and other services.
The government, however, issued executive orders and made Aadhar mandatory for obtaining various certificates relating to "caste, domicile, income, death and birth."
Aadhar has also been made necessary for registration of various documents relating to property, will and marriages, the petition said.
It said the constitutional validity of UIDAI has been challenged in the Supreme Court and till the case is decided, "the burden of obtaining an Aadhar should not be made mandatory on the public for availing public services."