Mandatory Aadhaar: SC to hear all petitions on June 27

Vincent Carr
May 20, 2017

The Supreme Court on Friday was told that the entire architecture of Aadhaar scheme was that of state surveillance of the citizens as the government was in possession of entire electronic record of the citizens.

He said that various application filed against Aadhaar scheme, filed over the last three months, were not taken up for hearing in the apex court, causing undue delay in adjudication of crucial case which could have huge implications on civil rights of citizens. Rohatgi said he was "taken over by law", referring to the Aadhaar Act 2016. The court, however, made it clear that Aadhaar should not be made mandatory for availing benefits of the scheme.

When the bench told Rohatgi that the government had made a statement that information of Aadhaar will not be shared with any one, the Attorney General said, "we are not sharing it with anyone".

The court, after hearing both sides, said that it was hard for constitution bench to assemble during vacation. Can they go on filing petitions after petitions which have even the same text?

The bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Navin Sinha recused from hearing the petition by Shanta Sinha and Kalyani Sen Menon citing that Justice Nageswara Rao had appeared for the government in the matter when he was Additional Solicitor General. "I can not asked Parliament not to make a law".

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The remarks came when the bench wanted to know from senior advocate Shyam Divan "why this second petition, when you have alreay filed a plea earlier seeking similar reliefs".

Rohatgi referred to the historic pre-dawn hearing in the apex court in the Yakub Memon matter and said he was called by the court at 2 AM for hearing the case.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Magsaysay award victor Shantha Sinha and feminist activist Kalyani Menon Sen. The petitions were filed by Shantha Sinha and others challenging the various notifications issued by the Centre insisting on Aadhaar card before June 30 for availing various benefits, including scholarships, admission, domestic air travel, mobile phone, etc.

Several petitions, challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar are pending in the apex court and would be heard by a five-judge constitution bench, which is yet to be set up by the CJI. The apex court had earlier on October 15, 2015 permitted the voluntary use of Aadhaar cards for welfare schemes like MGNREGA, all pension schemes, the provident fund and the "Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna" in addition to LPG and PDS schemes.

Other reports by BadHub

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