The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the Centre, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on a plea seeking directions to not insisting on the production of Aadhaar card as the only proof of identification for Covid-19 vaccination.
A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud sought response from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and UIDAI on the matter.
The bench asked the counsel for the petitioner, “Don’t go by newspaper articles. Have you seen the CoWIN app yourself recently?”
The apex court told the petitioner Siddharthshankar Sharma that the app has been updated and there are now a variety of ID proofs to register for vaccination.
A plea, moved through advocate Mayank Kshirsagar, has sought the protection of right to vaccination granted to the citizens, which is endangered on account of denial of vaccination due to non-submission of Aadhaar details to the authority concerned despite possessing one of the seven prescribed photo-identification mentioned on the CoWIN app.
The bench noted that Aadhaar card is not the only ID which is accepted by the concerned authorities. “You can also register with a drivers’ license, PAN card, voter ID, passport, ration card, etc. You go and verify for yourself,” the bench told the counsel.
Kshirsagar submitted that one can register with any of the seven IDs, but when you visit a Centre for vaccination, the authorities insist on Aadhaar. He added that everything on paper is there, but people are still facing this problem. After hearing arguments in the matter, the top court issued notice on the plea.
The plea said that contrary to the practical actions of MoHFW, recently another Standard operating procedure (SOP) guideline has been issued by it wherein it directs the provision of vaccination for even those persons who do not possess any of the seven prescribed photo ID cards as mentioned in the CoWIN portal.
“While such appreciable policies are being formulated on paper by the MoHFW, the absolutely contradictory conduct of making the Aadhaar details mandatory at the verification stage before administering vaccination on the vaccinator’s access page renders such policies a hoax creating serious doubts over the real objective of the Ministry,” the plea added.