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State’s Social Welfare Department to be appearing before Allahabad HC for denying scholarship to students.

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Hearing a contempt petition pertaining to denial of government scholarship to college students for merely not having their Aadhaar Cards, Allahabad High Court chose to remind the department of Mahatma Gandhi’s Talisman which he gave to those who find themselves in a dilemma about the right decision.

The Talisman given by the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi for those who are confronted with a doubt and are in a dilemma about the right decision may be recalled by the concerned officials.

“I will give you a Talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him.

Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and your self melts away.”

[Mahatma Gandhi]

Order Date

Stating that Gandhi had asked such person to recall the face of the poorest and the weakest and then contemplate whether his decision is going to be of any use to that poor person, the Bench of Justice Ajay Bhanot has sought personal appearance of the State’s Social Welfare Department officials on next date of hearing to show cause why charge of contempt be not framed against them.

Court noted that despite its earlier directions in an order dated March 15, 2021, the Director and  Principal Secretary of Uttar Pradesh Government’s Social Welfare Department at Lucknow had not opened a portal on the department’s website for the students belonging to marginal sections of the society to be able to complete their application form for availing the Government scholarship without Aadhar card details.

Matter in brief 

Earlier, students of Management colleges including Unnati Management College, Mathura through colleges’ management committees had approached the court against one government order in which it was made mandatory to fill Aadhar card details to apply for the scholarships that are being provided to the marginalized sections of the society under the   Uttar   Pradesh   SC/ST   Post Metric Scholorship and Fee Reimbursment Rules, 2012.   

On March 15, 2021 the court passed an order in which it directed the respondent authorities to accept the online form of the students without insisting for Aadhaar Card/Number. 

The court had also asked the authorities to accept any alternative means of the identity and background of the students. The court had relied upon Supreme Court’s ruling in ‘K.S. Puttaswamy (Retired) and another (AADHAAR) Vs. Union of India and another (2019) for its decision. 

For compliance of these directions, the court had directed the Director of Social   Welfare Department, Government of U.P. Lucknow to issue appropriate direction for opening the portal of the site on which the students of the marginal section of the society.

However, the court found out that the direction had not been complied with and therefore, the court has sought personal appearance of the responsible. 

Court has also sought personal appearance of Deputy Secretary, Government of U.P. at Lucknow to explain the communication of October 28 to the Department of Social Welfare.

However, court said that if before the next date, the earlier directions of the court would have been complied with, then the personal appearance of the respondents will be exempted.

Also Read  Merely asking a person whether he wants to be searched before a gazetted officer or Magistrate is not the sufficient compliance of Section 50 of NDPS Act: Allahabad HC