New Delhi: The Supreme Court has said that its five-judge Constitution Bench will sit on Tuesday and on Wednesday to hear matters relating to Aadhaar, including the aspect of right to privacy.
The matter was mentioned before a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud which said that its five-judge Constitution Bench will hear Aadhaar-related matters.
Attorney General K K Venugopal and senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for petitioners who have challenged government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for various public welfare schemes, jointly mentioned the matter before the bench and requested that there should be an early hearing by the Constitution Bench.
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When Justice Khehar asked Venugopal and Divan as to whether the matter was to be heard by a seven-judge Constitution Bench, both the parties said that it has to be heard by a five-judge bench.
The Attorney General and Divan mentioned the matter before the CJI as a three-judge bench had on July 7 said that all issues arising out of Aadhaar should finally be decided by a larger bench and the CJI would take a call on the need for setting up a Constitution Bench.
Justice J Chelameswar, who was heading the three-judge bench had on the last hearing said, “My opinion is that once a matter has been referred to a Constitution bench, then all the issues arising out of it should be with the Constitution bench. I can only say that a matter can be disposed of by a nine-judge bench.”
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.
A two-judge bench of the top court had on June 27 refused to pass an interim order against the Centre’s notification making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of social welfare schemes, with the government assuring it that no one would be deprived for want of this identification.
The court had observed that no interim order could be passed merely on the “apprehension” raised by the petitioners that somebody might be deprived of the benefits under various social welfare schemes due to lack of Aadhaar, especially when no such affected person had come before it.
The top court was hearing three separate petitions challenging government’s notification making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of various social welfare schemes.
Earlier, the apex court had passed a slew of orders asking the government and its agencies not to make Aadhaar mandatory for extending benefits of welfare schemes.
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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.