The Supreme Court had ruled that Aadhaar could not be made mandatory for availing benefits under the various social security schemes. Following the order, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), also made it clear that providing Aadhaar number of students will be optional and not mandatory. However, some schools are not only forcing students to provide the UID number, but also arranging camps for enrolment of Aadhaar for those who do not have the UID number.
In a circular issued on 10 September 2016, the CBSE has clarified that "Aadhaar number field provided in the system is optional (not mandatory)". However, few schools that run CBSE curriculum are insisting on furnishing Aadhaar number for students. One such school even organises an enrolment camp to issue Aadhaar to students and sent out a letter to parents. Here is the letter, sent out by one such school for compulsory enrolment of Aadhaar and shared by one parent...
Importantly, the school is found forcing Aadhaar enrolment upon students who are taking admission in primary classes as well. This raises another question: do the school authorities or even the government care that biometrics (a must for enrolling to Aadhaar), especially of children, are susceptible to change over years. It is a well-known fact that human body parts like fingerprint, iris, and voice age, wither and decay with the passage of time. Is there a biological material in the human body that constitutes biometric data, which is immortal, ageless and permanent?
Besides, working conditions, humidity, temperature and lighting conditions also affect the quality of biological material used for generating biometric data. Aadhaar is based on the unscientific and questionable assumption that there are parts of human body likes fingerprint, iris, and voice that does not age, wither and decay with the passage of time. A report “Biometric Recognition: Challenges and Opportunities” of the National Research Council, USA published on 24 September 2010 concluded that the current state of biometrics is ‘inherently fallible’. That is also one of the findings of a five-year study.
Coming back to enforcing Aadhaar on citizens, just few days ago, the Supreme Court caught the central government red-handed defying its order that no citizen will be deprived benefits under a government scheme for want of an Aadhaar number. A Bench of Justices Gopala V Gowda and AK Goel, while staying a letter issued by the Centre to states for making Aadhaar mandatory for scholarship schemes, directed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to discard Aadhaar as mandatory condition for student registration from its national scholarship portal. The Bench also stayed instructions insisting on Aadhaar from government advertisement for the scholarship schemes, says a report from The Hindu.
Last year, CBSE took a U-turn after announcing that students appearing for board exams had to compulsorily provide their Aadhaar number. It clarified that providing the UID number is optional for class 10 and class 12 students and also for students registering for class 9th and 11th, who will appear for board examination next year.
On 15 October 2015, the Constitution Bench of Supreme Court led by the then Chief Justice HL Dattu had ruled that no person shall be deprived of services such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), Jan Dhan Yojana, pension and provident fund schemes for want of Aadhaar. The Bench even hinted that the government risked contempt of Court if it chooses to continue to make Aadhaar number a mandatory condition.
Earlier on 23 September 2013, a bench of Justice J Chelameswar, Justice SA Bobde and Justice C Nagappan, without going into concrete examples, had said: "In certain quarters, Aadhaar are being insisted on by various authorities."
"...no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar in spite of the fact that some authorities had issued a circular making it mandatory and when any person applies to get the Aadhaar voluntarily, it may be checked whether that person is entitled for it under the law and it should not be given to any illegal immigrant," the apex court had said in its order.