You must know: Why Madras HC dismissed the plea that sought to revoke linking of Aadhaar with Electricity card?

In the midst of ongoing process of linking the Aadhaar with the electricity service in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court has on Wednesday - December 21 rejected a plea that sought to revoke such linkage. In a closely-watched case, the High Court accepted the argument from the Tamil Nadu's Electricity board against a litigation that challenged the government's move to roll-out the linking measure. 

On the front of why the plea was dismissed, the court observed that the petition was filed without any basis. A bench comprising Justices Raja and Bharatha Chakravarthy passed the order of dismissing the petition. According to reports, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by ML Ravi, who is an advocate and head of Makkal Sakthi Katchi. 

In his PIL, Ravi contended that a person's Aadhaar card can be linked to only one house and this would make it difficult for tenants in a rental house when they vacate. By citing that it would be a hassle to relink the Aadhaar with a different house, Ravi claimed that the special camps conducted by the government to link Aadhaar with the electricity card have not informed people that other government documents can be used in place of Aadhaar. 

The PIL further stated that there is no provision in the law to deny providing electricity to the people at subsidised rates because they have not registered their Aadhaar and electricity cards. Ravi also highlighted that linking Aadhaar to electricity cards could lead to a discrimination because not everyone will be able to avail of those benefits and other social welfare schemes. 

Arguing against the PIL, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) has said that the issue of subsidy for tenants is a matter between the owners and tenants. It argued that the Aadhaar will be linked on the basis of the electricity meters and only after obtaining approval from the tenant and the owner of the house. By observing the arguments of TANGEDCO, the High Court dismissed Ravi's petition stating that it was filed without any basis.

It is pertinent to note that the electricity tariffs were increased in Tamil Nadu in September 2022 and the government further offered to provide the first hundred units as a subsidy. The beneficiaries were asked to link their electricity cards with Aadhaar to avail this subsidy and all the consumers were asked to link their Aadhaar as the government is building a database of the residents. Earlier this month, TANGEDCO had announced that the consumers can also link their Aadhaar with electricity cards through online.