Supreme Court to set up constitution bench on pleas against Aadhaar

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Oct 30, 2017, 11:11 AM IST
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A specially constituted bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer will be hearing a total of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgement of the Allahabad High Court in four civil suits. Photograph:(WION Web Team)

The Supreme Court said today that it will set up a constitution bench on pleas against the government's decision making Aadhaar mandatory to avail various services and welfare scheme benefits.

A bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said the constitution bench would start hearing the petitions in last week of November, PTI reported.

Several petitions, challenging the Centre's move to make Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes and notifications to link it with mobile numbers and bank accounts, are pending in the top court. 

The court today issued a notice to Centre on a separate plea challenging linking of mobile phone numbers with Aadhaar and sought reply within four weeks.

The Supreme Court also pulled up the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government today for challenging the government's decision to make Aadhaar for welfare schemes and for linking it with mobile numbers.

The top court said only an individual and not a state could file a plea against a mandate by Parliament. It asked the West Bengal chief minister to file the plea as an individual.

"In a federal structure, how can a state file plea challenging Parliament's mandate," the Supreme Court bench said.

The West Bengal government has agreed to amend the plea and file it again.

"If the court has said on Aadhaar matter that I need to approach individually, then I respect it. They have not rejected my petition," Mamata Banerjee said.

The government had earlier told the top court that the deadline for the mandatory linking of the 12-digit biometric identification number to avail benefits of various government schemes has been extended till March 31 next year for those who do not have the Aadhaar card.

The petitioners had termed the linking of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) number with bank accounts and mobile numbers as illegal and unconstitutional and strongly objected to the CBSE's move to make it mandatory for students to appear for exams.

Earlier, while hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the mandatory use of Aadhaar as an infringement of privacy, a nine-judge constitution bench had upheld the Right to Privacy as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution of India.

A five-judge constitutional bench will decide separately whether Aadhaar violates the Right to Privacy or not.