Sri T.S.R Sharma had filed a writ petition in Andhra Pradesh High Court on the action of Oil Companies in insisting that subsidized LPG Cylinders would be provided to only those consumers with Aadhaar Cards.
The Andhra Pradesh division bench comprising Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar of the AP High Court on Thursday told the Centre and the gas agencies not to insist on consumers having an Aadhaar card for supply of subsidised LPG cylinders.
The main argument put by Counsel for the petitioner was on collecting data of citizens through biometrics amounts to intruding on the privacy of citizens and it was against the basic principles of law.
He argued that till date the Centre has not made any law mandating that Aadhaar card is compulsory to receive benefits under the subsidy scheme.
The Chief Justice asked assistant solicitor-general Ponnam Ashok Goud under which law the Centre was insisting on Aadhaar cards to extend subsidies to citizens.
Goud pointed out that the petitioner has not made either the ministry of petroleum or the ministry of planning as parties to the petitions. Assistant solicitor-general Ponnam Ashok Goud admitted in the AP High Court that the Centre has so far not issued any notification making the Aadhaar card mandatory for the supply of LPG cylinders.
Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta said that in the absence of a notification or law, the oil companies have no right to insist on an Aadhaar card for supply of LPG cylinders.
At present, LPG dealers in Andhra Pradesh state are collecting Rs 1050 per cylinder (the price of the full cylinder without the subsidy) from consumers with the assurance that the subsidy of about Rs 570 will be credited into the bank accounts of the consumers if their Aadhaar card, gas consumer number and bank account are enrolled and linked.
However, according to legal analysts, Thursday’s order of the AP High Court directing the authorities not to insist on production of Aadhaar card for supplying LPG cylinder will provide little relief to consumers. According to them, the gas dealers and oil companies will not be affected as they can continue to charge the full price from consumers, but the latter will be hit as they will be deprived of their subsidy reimbursement.
- Efforts on to ensure full compliance with DBT (thehindu.com)
- Rethink insistence on Aadhaar for subsidy: Mamata to centre (vancouverdesi.com)
- LPG cylinders come with R 40 lakh risk cover (consumerresources.in)