Govt of NCT of Delhi v Sashank Yadav [LPA 631/2023 & CM APPLs. 47206-07/2023]
The Delhi High Court declined to interfere with a ruling that temporarily halted the city government’s decision to require a child’s Aadhaar card in order to be admitted to a private, unaided school in one of the three categories of economically disadvantaged students (EWS), disadvantaged groups (DG), or children with special needs (CWSN).
The Delhi government’s appeal of a single-judge court’s interim ruling was denied by a bench presided over by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma, who also ruled that the requirement seemed to violate constitutional protections for privacy.
The Delhi government appealed this decision on the grounds that the single judge had not fully comprehended the goals and intentions behind the contested circulars and that the requirement for an Aadhaar card or Aadhaar number serves a useful purpose by attempting to reduce the number of applications that are submitted more than once.
The order of the single judge was passed on a petition filed by a man who had alleged that his five-year-old child was unable to participate in the computerised lottery scheme for allocation of seats in schools for the 2023 academic year as he did not have an Aadhaar card.
The government argued that it was a policy initiative intended to modernise the admissions process for the EWS/DG category in introductory courses in private, unaided, accredited schools.
Furthermore, it stated that the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009’s mandate for Aadhaar did not infringe on the child’s right to a free and compulsory education. Instead, the government said that it acts as a protection against admissions and applications that are fraudulent and based on fictitious identities.
The government further claimed that it is not directly accessing the Aadhaar database and that it has no intention of jeopardising the security or privacy of applicants. Consequently, the government claimed that there is no violation of the right to privacy.
It was also argued that mandating an Aadhaar card did not violate a child’s right to free and compulsory education, rather it served as a safeguard 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.
The ruling was delivered by the Division Bench of Delhi High Court comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula.
Advocates Santosh Kr. Tripathi, Arun Panwar, Pradyumn Rao, Utkarsh Singh, Kartik Sharma, Prashansha Sharma and Rishabh Srivastava, Advocates appeared for the Appellant while the Respondent was represented by Advocate Ayush Agarwala, Auritro Mukherjee.