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Delhi High Court Rules Aadhaar Not Compulsory for EWS Admission in Private Schools

The Delhi High Court has issued a directive stating that an Aadhaar card is not obligatory for EWS admission in private schools.

By Team Pardaphash 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has declined to intervene in an order that suspended the implementation of the Delhi government’s mandate requiring a child’s Aadhaar card for admission to private unaided recognized schools in any of the three categories: economically weaker section (EWS), disadvantaged group (DG), and children with special needs (CWSN).

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A bench led by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma dismissed an appeal filed by the Delhi government against a single-judge bench’s interim order and stated that the requirement is prima facie conflicting with constitutional provisions related to privacy.

The issue of collecting sensitive personal details of a child, as noted in the K S Puttaswamy case (by the Supreme Court), has the potential to infringe upon their right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the bench, also including Justice Sanjeev Narula, stated in a ruling issued last week.

The court observed that the Supreme Court has emphasized that making Aadhaar submission mandatory would violate the fundamental rights protected by Article 21, and any such limitation cannot be constitutionally justified.

“It is sufficient to state that the impugned circulars are prima facie in conflict with the constitutional provisions, the effect of which has been rightly stayed by the learned single judge,” the court concluded.

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The single judge’s order was issued in response to a petition filed by a man who alleged that his five-year-old child was unable to participate in the computerized lottery system for seat allocation in schools for the 2023 academic year because he did not possess an Aadhaar card.

The Delhi government, through circulars issued on July 12, 2022, and February 2, 2023, mandated the requirement of an Aadhaar card or number for admission to private unaided recognized schools in the national capital under the EWS, DG, and CWSN categories.

The court noted that the single judge has yet to make a final decision on the petition, and there is no merit in the appeal.

“Dismissed, along with other pending applications,” it ruled.

In the appeal against the single judge’s order issued 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.

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He claimed that the requirement for an Aadhaar card served a practical purpose and aimed to eliminate duplicate applications, modernize the admission process for the EWS and DG categories in entry-level classes in private, unaided recognized schools, and protect against fraudulent applications and admissions based on false identities.

The government counsel also clarified that the authorities have no intention of compromising the privacy or security of the candidates.

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