Five-judge Bench to hear Aadhaar pleas

  • Five-judge Bench to hear Aadhaar pleas

Five-judge Bench to hear Aadhaar pleas

The Supreme Court of India has agreed to hear the Aadhaar case on July 18, i.e. the coming Tuesday.

Fundamental right of identity and various e-governance initiatives of the government to provide food security, livelihood, jobs and health to the teeming masses can not be sacrificed at the altar of right to privacy of an elite few who have neither applied for nor want Aadhaar, it had contended.

Chief Justice J S Khehar agreed on Wednesday to set up a five-judge Supreme Court bench on July 18 to decide petitioners' plea for urgent stay on the Centre's decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for nearly all activities, including availing of social welfare scheme benefits.

Venugopal told a bench of CJI Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud that an eight-judge bench of the SC had held in 1954 that right to privacy was not a fundamental right.

Last week, a three-judge bench refused to pass any interim order and said the issue had to be decided only by the Constitution bench.

The bench thereafter asked "how much time do you think both sides will take?"

Despite a Bench led by him, in 2015, Justice Chelameswar enquired why the court had not heard the main plea on the constitutionality of Aadhaar, having referred it for hearing by a Constitution Bench. Former Karnataka High Court judge Justice K S Puttaswamy and others had challenged the legal validity of Aadhaar in 2012.

The bench had said it will depend upon the Chief Justice of India to decide whether the matter can be examined by a bench of seven or nine judges.

The petitions were filed after Centre notified making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of social welfare schemes.

The Aadhaar scheme was challenged when it had been made mandatory under an executive order.

The apex court, however, had allowed the Centre to seek Aadhaar card voluntarily from citizens for extending benefits of schemes like LPG subsidy, Jan Dhan scheme and Public Distribution System.