Authorities Must Follow Centre’s Policy That Aadhaar Not Mandatory For Covid Vax: SC

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court on Monday directed all authorities concerned with Covid vaccination should follow the Centre’s policy and not insist on Aadhaar card for administering the vaccine.

A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant was hearing a plea filed by Siddharth Shankar Sharma, through advocate Mayank Kshrisagar, seeking directions to authorities to not insist on Aadhaar card as the only proof of identification for administering vaccine.

The Centre’s counsel informed the bench that 87 lakh people have been vaccinated, without any identity card, in the ongoing vaccination drive.

The bench noted that the Centre’s affidavit establishes that Aadhaar card is not mandatory for registration on the Co-WIN portal and any one of the nine documents, which includes PAN card, passport etc, can be used for registration. “It is humbly submitted that Aadhaar card is not mandatory for registration of beneficiary on the Co-WIN portal,” said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in its affidavit.

The petitioner had moved the top claiming that he was denied vaccination due to the non-availability of Aadhaar card.

The Union Ministry said: “It is humbly submitted that in so far as denial of vaccination to the present writ petitioner due to non-availability of Aadhaar is concerned, the answering department vide letter November 2, 2021 sent to the Principal Secretary, state of Maharashtra has directed to take requisite action against the concerned private CVC for denying vaccination to the write petitioner despite showing a valid passport ID issued by the government of India.”

The Centre informed the top court that there is also a provision to conduct vaccination sessions for certain categories of persons without the prescribed identity cards. “This includes nomads (including sadhus/saints from various religions), prison inmates, inmates in mental health institutions, citizens in old age homes, road side beggars, people residing in rehabilitation centre/camps and any other identified eligible persons, aged 18 years or more,” added the affidavit.

The bench said in view of the clarification which has been issued in the Centre’s affidavit in connection with the production of the Aadhaar card is not a mandatory precondition for availing of vaccination facilities, the grievance of the petitioner is substantially met. “All concerned authorities shall act in pursuance of the stated policy which has been extracted in paragraph 8 of the counter affidavit,” it added.