State govt cannot demand Aadhaar card, bank passbook from mothers wishing to avail cashless maternity benefits, rules Delhi HC


Nisha vs Govt of NCT of Delhi & Ors WP(C) 9008/2016 The Delhi High Court  on July 31, 2018 said there was no legal basis for the government of NCT of Delhi to insist on documents like Aadhaar and bank passbooks to provide  benefits of schemes such as the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) to pregnant and lactating women in the city. ? The petition submitted in the court sought its direction to ensure that the government disburse the grant under JSY in a timely manner during pregnancy on or after childbirth for the residents of the Chilla Khadar Jhuggi Camp, Mayur Vihar, New Delhi. The petition had observed that several women in the area were ignorant about the availability of cashless assistance under the scheme. Most women were not even registered under the scheme since very few of them had bank or post office accounts, and many did not have Aadhaar Cards. Several women did not have their accounts linked with their Aadhaar Cards. The HRLN advocate representing the petitioner submitted before the court that a woman seeking to avail the benefits under the JSY scheme would be asked to produce several documents such as photocopies of their bank passbooks, Aadhaar cards, BPL/SC/ST certificates, photographs, etc. However, the scheme makes no mention of such requirements, except the BPL certificates. In response, the court said that there was no legal basis under the scheme for the state to insist on the production of these documents. A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar then directed government of the NCT of Delhi to “take appropriate steps for informing, taking and filing appropriate representing to the Ombudsman under the National Rural Health Implementation Scheme and apprising him of the above situation”. The court also noted that the state still had much to do to publicise the scheme and ensure its implementation.