The Madras High Court on Monday ordered notice on a plea challenging the notification issued in 2017, which insists on mandatory linkage of Aadhaar to Universal Account Number (UAN) for availing pension and provident fund benefits.
He said prior to the notification, Aadhaar usage was limited to those members who had begun receiving their pension and who were required to provide Life Certificates every year to continue receiving the pension which they are entitled to.
However, after the notification all members of the Pension Scheme would have to link their Aadhaar with their UAN just to continue their membership in the Pension Scheme while there remained no option to obtain the 8.33 per cent contribution for those who did not wish to continue in the scheme.
Moreover, pension fund comprises regular contributions from the employee’s salary and hence depriving the pensioners the amount citing non-linkage of Aadhaar would entail a violation of the right to property under Article 300A of the Constitution, the plea said
The petitioner also cited the Supreme Court’s Aadhaar judgment, which held that Aadhaar linkage can be made mandatory only where benefit sought to be availed is either a subsidy or a government welfare scheme and not for earned benefits.
Despite this, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) informed the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) that it could continue recording the employees’ Aadhaar details, although no explanation was given justifying the decision. The plea said while noting that such mandatory linkage for pensionary and provident fund benefits is disproportional and manifestly arbitrary.
A division bench comprising Justice S Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad before whom the plea came ordered notice to Union Ministry of Labour and Employment and EPFO.