The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the government to respond to a PIL alleging that insistence on “strict compliance” of providing Adhaar or National Population Register (NPR) number to get a Food Security card was a “distinct threat to personal security” and would also “deprive” poor people from getting the benefit of the Food Security Act.
The plea, filed by lawyer Yogesh Kumar, has sought directions from the court to quash a Department of Food and Supplies order issued in May, which makes it compulsory for poor persons applying for Food Security cards to quote Adhaar or NPR number to get the benefit.
According to the circular, if a person does not have the Adhaar card, he or she can cite the NPR number. However, according to the plea, the biometric data being collected under the NPR did not have any legislative mandate, since no such provision had been made under the Collection of Statistics Act.
“Biometric data is sensitive personal information. Its proliferation represents a threat to the personal security of the individual,” the plea states.
The PIL further argues that a large number of people would not have got themselves registered as they may not know what NPR is or may be unwilling to get enrolled using personal data.
During the hearing before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw last week, central government counsel Sumeet Pushkarna stated that the system was to modernise and streamline the public distribution process.
The court has now issued notice to the Registrar General of Census, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Food and Supplies to respond to the plea by August.