New Delhi: Claiming that Aadhaar impinges on his fundamental right to follow religious faith, a petitioner today told the Supreme Court that he cannot apply for the 12-digit biometric ID.
Appearing on behalf of one John Abraham, senior lawyer Sanjay Hegde told the court that the petitioner and his family are "devoted Christians" and seek exemption from the Aadhaar scheme on the grounds of being "conscientious objectors" to the same.
"The petitioner holds all 66 books that constitute the Holy Bible as sacred, inerrant and inviolable Holy Scripture. This includes the prophetic Book of Revelation... a prophetic warning against un-Christian practices," Mr Abraham said in his petition.
We won't go into the religious issue, said Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra who heads the constitution bench that is hearing the case.
Arguing that his client believes that Aadhaar is the "mark and number of the beast", Mr Hegde told the court that the admission of Mr Abraham's son to St Xavier's College, Bombay was rejected because he did not have an Aadhaar card.
In his petition, Mr Abraham said he does not speak for all Christians nor does he seek to join issue with the benefits or perils of the Aadhaar scheme to the country.
"He simply claims that his individual conscience, based on his individual study of the Holy Bible leads him to the inescapable conclusion that he cannot in good faith apply for an Aadhaar number," the petition said.
"Can you say your conscience doesn't allow you to pay taxes," Justice DY Chandrachud, who is part of the five-judge bench, asked the petitioner's lawyer. Mr Hegde gave no answer.
Attorney General KK Venugopal will begin his arguments on Wednesday against the clutch of petitions filed against Aadhaar.