The Aadhaar authority on Saturday told the Centre and state government departments that they cannot deny essential services to people who do not have an Aadhaar number, IANS reported.

The Unique Identification Authority of India said in a statement that a “genuine beneficiary should not be denied essential services such as medical help, hospitalisation, school admission or public distribution system rations” because they do not have the unique identity number.

The UIDAI’s statement comes after several cases across India where people were denied essential services as they did not have an Aadhaar number or were not carrying it with them. On Saturday, a woman delivered her baby outside a hospital in Gurugram after she was denied admission for not carrying her Aadhaar card.

The Supreme Court is also in the process of hearing a number of petitions that challenge the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, including the government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory to avail social benefits as well as linking to Permanent Account Numbers, bank accounts and mobile numbers.

“If any official of a department denies a service for lack of Aadhaar or lack of successful verification due to technical or any such reasons, a complaint should be lodged with the higher authorities of those departments for such unlawful denials,” the UIDAI statement said, according to Mint.

The Aadhar authority referred to Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, and said it had a clear provision to ensure “no exclusion or denial”.

“Aadhaar enables people to establish their identity so they receive their entitlements and exercise their rights without any fear of being excluded,” the statement said, adding that service providers who deny essentials were “punishable under respective laws of the land”.