The Madras High Court Bench here on Thursday passed an interim order directing gas agencies not to insist on registration of Aadhaar number details for LPG subsidy until a decision is taken by the Supreme Court on the matter.
A Division Bench comprising Justices R. Sudhakar and V.M. Velumani said, “In view of the specific order of the Supreme Court that no person should suffer for not having Aadhaar card, oil companies or their agents should not insist on Aadhaar card (number and other details) for grant of subsidised LPG cylinders to those who are eligible until a decision is taken by the Supreme Court on the matter.”
The Bench passed the interim order based on two public interest litigations, which sought to restrain gas agencies such as Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Indane Gas from demanding Aadhaar details from the consumers for LPG subsidy.
The petitioners, M. Sekaran, president of the Federation of Consumer and Service Organisations, Tiruchi, and S.M. Ananthamurugan, a Madurai-based advocate, had claimed in their petitions that the demand for Aadhaar details by the gas agencies for gas cylinders with subsidy was in violation of an order passed by the Supreme Court on September 23, 2013, indicating that no person should suffer for not having Aadhaar card.
A litigation on the validity of Aadhaar card is pending in the apex court, they had pointed out.
By demanding Aadhaar details for LPG subsidy, the gas agencies ‘wilfully disobeyed the orders of the Supreme Court’, they had contended. The case has been adjourned to January 29 for further hearing.