The High Court has sought to know why it is mandatory for students from minority communities to apply online for availing scholarships when many of them might not be in a position to do so.
“Why have you made it mandatory to apply online,” a Bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal asked the Centre.
The Bench was hearing a petition filed by West Bengal-based Nasimuddin Educational Trust, which has challenged the Centre’s decision to make Aadhaar cards mandatory for students from the minority communities to be able to apply for scholarship schemes.
The petition challenged the July 14 order of the Ministry of Minority Affairs asking the Chief Secretary or administrators of States to advertise national scholarships, which can be applied for online.
The Supreme Court had recently stayed the Centre’s order saying that Aadhar cards cannot be made mandatory for scholarships. In light of this order, the HC said it did not have to go into it.
The petitioner also challenged the Centre’s decision to make it mandatory for anyone interested in a scholarship scheme to apply online.
“Lakhs of minority students may not be able to apply online. They [the government] should allow offline application also,” said the petitioner.
The matter has now been fixed for December 7.
The plea stated that the policy of making Aadhaar cards mandatory for applying for pre-matric, post-matric and merit-cum-means scholarships — meant to benefit students from the minority communities — was “arbitrary”. It added that the policy of “compelling” students to apply online “smacks of non-application of mind since students most in need of scholarship might not have access to the internet”.