A plea has been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to the Centre and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to utilise Aadhaar biometrics to identify unnamed dead bodies.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao is likely to hear the petition on Monday, which has been filed by social activist Amit Sahni seeking a direction to the Centre, UIDAI, National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and all the states to scan biometrics of unidentified dead bodies and process them with Aadhaar portal to trace any pre-existing biometric details.
In his plea, he sought directions to the Centre and UIDAI to share pre-existing Aadhaar details, if already there, without any delay, with the NCRB and states for identification of dead bodies.
"In case the biometrics of the dead body, pre-exists on Aadhaar portal then directions be issued to share Aadhaar details of such dead persons with the respondents immediately without any delay, so as to ensure, the handing over of the dead body to the family or relatives of such deceased persons so that respectable and dignified exit could be ensured by performing last rites by affected persons (family)," the plea said.
Sahni, also an advocate, has sought directions to constitute special courts for speedy disposal of cases pertaining to unidentified dead bodies under Aadhaar Act on the same day or the next day, irrespective of the holiday.
A similar plea was earlier filed by the petitioner before the Supreme Court which asked him to approach the Delhi High Court where he has already filed a petition for using Aadhaar biometrics for the purpose of tracing and re-uniting missing and mentally challenged persons with their families. Thereafter, he withdrew the plea from the top court.
The plea said despite registering biometrics and scanning more than 1.22 billion citizens at the Aadhaar Portal, the same was not being utilised for the purpose of identifying unidentified dead bodies. It added that thousands of unidentified dead bodies are recovered in the country every year.
The petition sought directions to the authorities, saying usage of Aadhaar information would not only reduce manpower, expenditure, and burden on the state in disposing of the unidentified bodies but the bodies could also be handed over to the families in a short span of time.
A five-judge Constitution bench of the apex court had on September 26 declared the Centre's flagship Aadhaar scheme as constitutionally valid but had struck down some of its provisions, including its linking with bank accounts, mobile phones, and school admissions clause.
The bench had held that while Aadhaar would remain mandatory for the filing of Income Tax returns and allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN), it would not be compulsory to link Aadhaar to bank accounts and telecom service providers cannot seek its linking for mobile connections.