Delhi High Court Rules Against Mandatory Aadhaar Card for School Admission
The Delhi High Court has taken a significant step by refusing to interfere with an order that suspended the enforcement of the city government’s decision. This decision mandated that a child’s Aadhaar card must be furnished for admission to a private unaided recognized school under any of the three categories: economically weaker section (EWS), disadvantaged group (DG), and children with special needs (CWSN).
A bench led by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma dismissed an appeal filed by the Delhi government against the interim order of a single-judge bench. The court stated that the requirement for Aadhaar prima facie conflicts with constitutional provisions pertaining to privacy.
The bench cited the K S Puttaswamy case by the Supreme Court, emphasizing that obtaining sensitive personal details of a child could potentially infringe upon their right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The top court had previously asserted that making the submission of Aadhaar mandatory would contravene fundamental rights safeguarded by Article 21, and such a limitation cannot be constitutionally justified.
The court concluded, “It would thus suffice to state that the impugned circulars are prima facie in conflict with the constitutional provisions, effect whereof has rightly been stayed by the learned single judge.”
The single judge’s order, passed on a petition by a man, highlighted that his five-year-old child was unable to participate in the computerized lottery scheme for seat allocation in schools for the 2023 academic year due to the lack of an Aadhaar card.
The Delhi government issued circulars on July 12, 2022, and February 2, 2023, mandating the requirement of an Aadhaar card or number for admission to private unaided recognized schools in Delhi under the EWS, DG, and CWSN categories.
The court noted that the single judge has not yet made a final decision on the petition and found no merit in the appeal. The appeal was dismissed along with other pending applications.
In appeal against the single judge’s order passed on July 27, the Delhi government’s standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi argued that the judge failed to adequately understand the intent and objectives behind the circulars.
He stated that the requirement for an Aadhaar card served a practical purpose, aiming to eliminate duplicate applications and modernize the admission process for the EWS and DG categories in entry-level classes in private unaided recognized schools.
Tripathi also argued that mandating an Aadhaar card did not violate a child’s right to free and compulsory education. Instead, it served as a safeguard against fraudulent applications and admissions based on false identities. He clarified that the authorities had no intention of compromising the privacy or security of the candidates.
As this legal battle continues, it raises crucial questions about the balance between privacy rights and administrative efficiency in the education system. The final decision on this matter will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for both students and educational institutions in Delhi.
Privacy, Aadhaar card, Delhi High Court, School Admission, Education, Constitutional Provisions