If people do not have Aadhaar cards, do they not exist for the Indian government, the Supreme Court asked on Wednesday while hearing a plea against night shelters in Uttar Pradesh, NDTV reported. The night shelters have reportedly asked the homeless for Aadhaar cards as identity proof.
The court had summoned the Chief Secretary of the Uttar Pradesh government in the case,News18 reported. “How can a homeless person get an Aadhaar card?” the court asked. “If he doesn’t have an Aadhaar card, he doesn’t exist in the eyes of the government?”
When a lawyer representing the Uttar Pradesh government said that an “identification like an Aadhaar” can be used to admit people into shelters, the court said, “To get even a voter card you need address proof. Where will one get address proof if he is homeless?”
The bench’s questions come just weeks before a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court will begin the final hearing on the validity of Aadhaar.
The Supreme Court is hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the validity of Aadhaar based on privacy concerns. In a landmark ruling in August, the Supreme Court had declared privacy a fundamental right protected under Article 21 of the Constitution. This was seen as a major blow to the Centre’s push for Aadhaar.