In the light of many citizens of Meghalaya being denied their pensions because of illegal insistence of Aadhaar by the Provident fund office, today the members of the Meghalaya Peoples Committee against Aadhar (MPCA) met the Assistant Commissioner Provident Fund at Shillong and submitted before him a petition urging the Employees Provident Fund Authority to withdraw or rescind notifications that make Aadhaar Mandatory.The MPCA had received complaints from several pensioners who could not access to their own pensions for the past several months. The MPCA expressed concern over the undue problems face by pensioners.
The meeting lasted nearly an hour and during the exchange of arguments it was also learnt that even for some people who had Aadhaar there were authentication failures. The MPCA believes that pensions are one’s own hard earned money and no one should be denied of their right for want of Aadhaar. Moreover since Aadhaar has not yet been made mandatory and it is highly unwarranted for any Authority to compel the citizens to register for it. PF office was told in uncertain term that till the Honourable Supreme Court gives its final ruling in the Aadhaar Case – it is illegal for PF office deny people their pension.
- The Supreme Court from time to time, since 2013, has passed interim orders that Aadhaar is voluntary and not mandatory and it was only on 21 March, 2018 that the Honourable Supreme Court Bench on Aadhaar in questioning the mandatory use of Aadhaar card for drawing pension by retired government employees“ has pointed out that “pension is an entitlement and not a benefit under social schemes.”
- As per the Notification issued by the Union Ministry of Finance, dated 12 May, 2017, “the requirement of quoting of Aadhaar / Enrolment ID shall not apply to the following individuals if they do not possess the Aadhaar / Enrolment ID: i. An individual who is residing in the state of Assam, Jammu and Kashmir and Meghalaya …”
- Similarly, has the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, vide its Letter No. 19012/2017-Edu/Scho, dated 9th June 2017 though it is not about pension, whereby, the Notification exempts the States of Assam, Meghalaya and Jammu & Kashmir.
- Further,Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) DONER, MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space had clarified on 23 March, 2018 “that Aadhaar card is only optional for drawing pension and contrary to the reports, it is not mandatory for a pensioner to produce Aadhaar Card to withdraw his pension.”
Meghalaya People’s Committee against Aadhaar is a broadbased citizens group founded by Khasi Students Union, Thma U Rangli Juki (TUR) and eminent citizens like Rev. PBM Basaiwmoit, Kyrsoibor Pyrtuh, Auguster Jyrwa etc. MPCA has campaigned against Aadhaar for long and has also filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court demanding an Opt Out clause from Aadhaar.
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