Manipur Violence: Supreme Court Urges Swift Resolution of Aadhaar Card Issues in Manipur
The Supreme Court directs UIDAI and Manipur government to expedite Aadhaar card verification for displaced residents during ethnic conflict.
IMPHAL: The Supreme Court of India has issued directives to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the Manipur government to address the pressing issues related to the verification of Aadhaar cards in the violence-hit state. The apex court's decision comes in response to the ongoing ethnic conflict in Manipur, which has caused the displacement of numerous individuals.
The Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, emphasized the importance of ensuring that Aadhaar cards are provided promptly to those displaced individuals whose records are already available with the UIDAI. However, the court made it clear that it does not intend to take over the administration of Manipur and stressed the need for thorough verifications before issuing Aadhaar cards.
To facilitate this process, the UIDAI, which holds biometric data for individuals with Aadhaar cards, will cross-reference the claims of displaced individuals regarding the loss of their cards. Additionally, the court instructed the secretary of Manipur's finance department to issue appropriate instructions to all banks in the affected areas of the state to provide details of bank accounts to those who have lost their documents.
Furthermore, the court directed the secretary of Manipur's health department to expedite the issuance of disability certificates and duplicates of disability certificates to specially-abled individuals residing in relief camps.
These directives were issued while the Supreme Court was reviewing reports submitted by an all-woman committee of former high court judges, led by Justice (retd) Gita Mittal. The committee, which also includes Justices (retd) Shalini P Joshi and Asha Menon, sought specific directions on various issues, including the loss of personal documents by displaced individuals.
The Supreme Court ordered the Deputy Director General of UIDAI, Regional Office, Guwahati, and the secretary of the Department of Home Affairs, Manipur, to take all necessary steps to ensure that Aadhaar cards are provided to displaced persons who may have lost their cards during the displacement but have their records available with UIDAI.
During the proceedings, the court raised concerns about the verification process, emphasizing the importance of confirming the genuine residency or citizenship status of individuals before issuing Aadhaar cards, especially in the context of potential illegal entrants.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre and the Manipur government, suggested that many of these issues could be resolved through discussions between the committee and the relevant authorities. He urged the committee to understand its role and communicate directly with the authorities, mentioning that they may have misconstrued their role.
Addressing additional concerns raised during the hearing, the court emphasized the committee's role in handling various aspects and suggested that these issues could be brought to the committee's attention.
The Supreme Court's directives aim to expedite the resolution of Aadhaar card-related issues for individuals affected by the ethnic conflict in Manipur while ensuring proper verification procedures are in place. The court has entrusted the UIDAI and Manipur government with the responsibility of addressing these challenges promptly and efficiently.