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Manipur violence: SC asks UIDAI, State to ensure Aadhaar cards provided to displaced persons after due verification

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Deputy Director General of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) Gauhati and Home Secretary of Manipur to ensure that the displaced persons in ethnic strife-torn State, who may have lost their Aadhaar cards, are provided a copy of the card after due verification.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra expressing apprehension at the possibility of illegal migrants in Manipur getting Aadhaar cards cautioned UIDAI that it must match the biometric details with reference to each individual, who has claimed that they have lost their Aadhaar card, with its database.

“Someone will have to verify if they are genuine citizens. What if someone is an illegal entrant? We will say that the authorities will verify if the person is a genuine citizen. We can't pass a general order,” the CJI said.

The bench said those people who have lost their Aadhaar cards, it would be easy as their biometrics will already be there.
“Deputy Director General, UIDAI, regional office Gauhati and State Home Secretary shall take all steps to ensure that Aadhaar cards are provided to all displaced persons who may have lost their Aadhaar cards in the process of displacement. We clarify that UIDAI which would have biometric data… would match the claims of any displaced persons, and issue Aadhaar cards,” the top court ordered.

The apex court passed the order after a recommendation of the Supreme Court-appointed High Power Committee which in its 9th report sought directions to UIDAI for issuing Aadhaar cards for the displaced persons in the State.

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar appearing for Meitei side told the bench that many who have Aadhaar cards are also illegal immigrants.
To this, CJI responded that he had said before issuance of Aadhaar card verification would happen.
Meanwhile, the bench also made it clear that it does not propose to run the Manipur administration from here by delving into every detail of the administration of the State.

“We do not propose to run the Manipur administration in the Supreme Court. We will not hear the case every week, we will hear it every four weeks. We do not believe the High Court of Manipur is not functioning,” the bench said after senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for the Kuki side, said lawyers of the Kuki community were not being allowed to appear before the High Court to espouse causes related to the violence in the State.
The apex court directed the President of the Manipur High Court Bar Association to confirm that lawyers were not being prevented from appearing before the High Court based on religious or community affiliations.

It also asked the President of the bar association to prepare a statement and submit orders of the High Court showing that lawyers from all communities appeared.
The President of the High Court Bar Association told the bench that lawyers from all communities were appearing in matters through physical and virtual modes.
The top court is seized of the cases relating to the violence in Manipur between Meitei and Kuki communities.

The violence in Manipur between the Meiteis and the tribal Kuki erupted after a rally by the All Tribal Students Union of Manipur (ATSUM) on May 3.
Violence has gripped the entire State since May and the Central government had to deploy paramilitary forces to bring the situation under control.

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