Yogesh Sapkale

The Maharashtra State Eligibility Test (MH-SET) has allowed applicants to file their applications for the post of assistant professor without Aadhaar. Although, Aadhaar was not mandatory, as per the Supreme Court order, applicants were facing issues while submitting applications without the UID. Get Moneylife’s 

When Moneylife pointed this out to the Savitribai Phule Pune University, which is the state agency for SET, they made the necessary rectification on their website. 

 In an email reply, the state agency for SET says, “Since the National Testing Agency at New Delhi included Aadhaar number in the online application form for the University Grants Commission (UGC) – National Educational Tests (NET) conducted in December 2018, the Savitribai Phule Pune University state agency also thought of including Aadhaar number in the online application form. Now, the error problem has been solved and candidates can submit their online Application form without entering the Aadhaar Number.” 

Some applicants confirmed that they were able to submit their application form without Aadhaar. The state agency is under the impression that Aadhaar helps establishing identity of an individual, enhances accuracy of the candidate’s details, ascertains the identity of the candidate’s details at the examination centre and helps obviate the need for producing multiple documents to prove one’s identity. To this end, it was asking for the Aadhaar number in its online application form.  

 However, while the field for Aadhaar was not made mandatory, it was not allowing further processing of the form without the UID number.

This was like making Aadhaar mandatory without explicitly saying so. It could have been done to avoid any backlash from the Supreme Court, which has barred use of Aadhaar, except for schemes for which the funding is derived from the Consolidated Fund of India.   

The Supreme Court, in its judgement dated 26 September 2018, in Justice KS Puttaswamy vs Union of India (the Aadhaar judgement) in WP Civil No. 494 of 2012, explicitly prohibited the use of Aadhaar for entrance tests or by boards like CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Examination) and the UGC (University Grants Commission). “As far as subsidies, services and benefits are concerned, their scope is not to be unduly expanded thereby widening the net of Aadhaar, where it is not permitted otherwise. It would cover only those ‘benefits’, the expenditure thereof has to be drawn from the Consolidated Fund of India. On that basis, CBSE, NEET, JEE, and UGC cannot make the requirement of Aadhaar mandatory as they are outside the purview of Section 7 and are not backed by any law,” the apex court had said. 

 When we pointed out this ruling to the state agency, it made the necessary rectification allowing applicants to submit online applications without Aadhaar.  As several experts have been pointing out, Aadhaar does not establish anything.

In fact, in response to a right to information (RTI) application, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) itself had admitted that it does not certify the identity, address, date of birth, resident status or existence of any individual or any Aadhaar number. (Read: Unique ID is not Unique, does not certify anything, says UIDAI) The UGC has accredited the SET examinations being held by the University of Pune as the state agency for Maharashtra and Goa. A candidate who qualifies the SET becomes eligible for appointment as assistant professor in a university or affiliated college, provided he or she fulfils other academic qualifications prescribed for the post by the UGC.