SC to pronounce order on mandatory linking of Aadhaar tomorrow

SC to pronounce order on mandatory linking of Aadhaar tomorrow
SC to pronounce order on mandatory linking of Aadhaar tomorrow

The Supreme Court today reserved its interim order for tomorrow on a batch of pleas seeking a stay on the government’s decision of mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various welfare schemes, as the Centre extended the deadline up to March 31 next year.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the final hearing on the petitions challenging the Aadhaar scheme itself would commence from January 17 next year.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, representing the Centre, said the government was willing to extend the deadline up to March 31 next year for mandatory linking of the national biometric identifier to avail the benefit of various services and welfare measures.

Venugopal, however, told the bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, that the Aadhaar should be allowed to remain mandatory for opening of new bank accounts.

The government had yesterday issued a notification to extend till March 31 the deadline for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar and Permanent Account Number (PAN) for bank accounts and certain financial transactions. However, there is no word on extending the February 6, 2018 deadline for linking mobile SIM cards with Aadhaar.

On the issue of linking of Aadhaar card with mobile services, the Attorney General said that the deadline of February 6 next year was fixed in pursuance of an apex court direction and the constitution bench may consider extending this deadline also.

On November 27, the apex court had said it may consider setting up a constitution bench to hear the pleas challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for availing various services and benefits of welfare schemes.

Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution. Several petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar had claimed it violated privacy rights.

The Centre had on October 25 told the top court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to receive benefits of government schemes has been extended till March 31, 2018 for those who do not have the 12-digit unique biometric identification number and were willing to enrol for it.

The Attorney General had told the court that no coercive action would be taken against those who do not have the Aadhaar card but are willing to enrol for. He had said such people would not be denied the benefits of social welfare schemes till March 31.

Some petitioners in the top court have termed the linking of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) number with bank accounts and mobile numbers as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

They have also objected to the CBSE’s alleged move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for students appearing for examinations, a contention denied by the Centre.

( Source – PTI )

SC Constitution bench to hear pleas against Aadhaar tomorrow

SC Constitution bench to hear pleas against Aadhaar tomorrow
SC Constitution bench to hear pleas against Aadhaar tomorrow

The Supreme Court today said that a five-judge constitution bench would hear tomorrow pleas seeking an interim stay on the Centre’s decision directing mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various government schemes and welfare measures.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said that the larger bench would sit at 2 PM tomorrow to take up the interlocutory applications seeking interim relief against the Centre’s decision on linking of Aadhaar with various schemes.

The Centre had on December 7 told the apex court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail various services and welfare schemes would shortly be extended till March 31 next year.

On November 27, the apex court had said it may consider setting up a constitution bench to hear pleas challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for availing various services and benefits of welfare schemes.

It had on October 30 said a constitution bench would commence hearing on the clutch of petitions against the Aadhaar scheme from the last week of November.

Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution. Several petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar had claimed it violated privacy rights.

The Centre had on October 25 told the top court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to receive benefits of government schemes has been extended till March 31, 2018 for those who do not have the 12-digit unique biometric identification number and were willing to enrol for it.

The Attorney General had told the court that no coercive action would be taken against those who do not have the Aadhaar card but are willing to enrol for. He had said such people would not be denied the benefits of social welfare schemes till March 31.

In a note to the court, the government had said that “those who have Aadhaar are required to seed/link their Aadhaar with SIM card, with bank account, PAN card and other schemes where section 7 notifications have been issued”.

“The government will be open for the deadline for linking Aadhaar to various programmes being extended for another three months till March 31, 2018 for those who do not have Aadhaar,” the note had said.

Some petitioners in the top court have termed the linking of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) number with bank accounts and mobile numbers as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

They have also objected to the CBSE’s alleged move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for students appearing for examinations, a contention denied by the Centre.

One of the counsel representing the petitioners had earlier said that final hearing on the main Aadhaar matter was necessary as the government “cannot compel” citizens to link their Aadhaar with either bank accounts or cell phone numbers.

( Source – PTI )

SC to hear Aadhaar pleas after concluding Delhi-Centre matter

SC to hear Aadhaar pleas after concluding Delhi-Centre matter
SC to hear Aadhaar pleas after concluding Delhi-Centre matter

The Supreme Court today said it may consider setting up a constitution bench to hear pleas challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for availing various services and benefits of welfare schemes after it concludes hearing the Delhi-Centre dispute.

The Centre apprised the bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that it was willing to extend up to March 31 next year, the deadline fixed for mandatory linking of Aadhaar numbers with various schemes on the terms envisaged earlier.

The bench, which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, did not agree with the contention of senior lawyer Shyam Divan, representing one of the petitioners opposing the move of making Aadhaar mandatory, that an interim stay on the scheme be granted till a five-judge bench commences hearing the petitions.

Attorney General K K Venugopal opposed the submission, saying that such an interim order cannot be passed in a matter of “national importance”.

“Even an interlocutory order can only be passed by the constitution bench,” the top court said and asked the lawyers to mention the matters once the five-judge bench concludes hearing on appeals of Delhi government challenging a High Court order that Lieutenant Governor is administrative head.

The court said that the constitution bench would first consider the aspect whether an interim order can be passed.

The apex court on October 30 had said that a constitution bench would commence hearing on the clutch of petitions against Aadhaar scheme from last week of November.

Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution. Several petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar had claimed it violated privacy rights.

The Centre had on October 25 told the top court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to receive benefits of government schemes has been extended till March 31, 2018 for those who do not have the 12-digit unique biometric identification number and were willing to enrol for it.

The Attorney General had told the court that no coercive action would be taken against those who do not have the Aadhaar card but are willing to enrol for. He had said such people would not be denied the benefits of social welfare schemes till March 31.

In a note to the court, the government had said that “those who have Aadhaar are required to seed/link their Aadhaar with SIM card, with bank account, PAN card and other schemes where section 7 notifications have been issued”.

“The government will be open for the deadline for linking Aadhaar to various programmes being extended for another three months till March 31, 2018 for those who do not have Aadhaar,” the note had said.

Some petitioners in the top court have termed the linking of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) number with bank accounts and mobile numbers as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

They had also objected to the CBSE’s alleged move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for students appearing for examinations, a contention denied by the Centre.

One of the counsel representing the petitioners had earlier said that final hearing in the main Aadhaar matter, which is pending before the apex court, was necessary as the government “cannot compel” citizens to link their Aadhaar with either bank accounts or cell phone numbers.

( Source – PTI )

SC asks UIDAI to consider an old man’s plea to Aadhaar

SC asks UIDAI to consider an old man's plea to Aadhaar
SC asks UIDAI to consider an old man’s plea to Aadhaar

The Supreme Court today asked the unique identification authority of India (UIDAI) to consider and take suitable steps on the representation of a senior citizen seeking an update in his Aadhaar details.

Observing that government would be “happy” if a citizen comes forward to get Aadhaar, a bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan asked the UIDAI to look into the grievance raised by the 73-year-old petitioner.

The counsel for the petitioner told the bench that the man wanted to update his Aadhaar details but there was a problem with his finger print as due to old age, the biometric identification was not matching.

At the outset, the bench asked the petitioner why he had approached the apex court and told him that he should have moved the Delhi High Court for redressal of his grievance.

When the petitioner’s counsel said the apex court was seized of the Aadhaar matter, the bench said “the petitions pending here have questioned the Aadhaar. You have got the Aadhaar. You want update in it. You can approach the high court”.

“If somebody comes and says he wants to get Aadhaar, the government will be happy,” the bench observed.

The counsel representing the Centre told the bench that the authority would take appropriate steps in the matter.

“See the prayer. He (petitioner) wants his Aadhaar to be updated. He says you are not doing it. Please look into it.

There is hardly anything in this,” the bench said.

Recently, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had said that a constitution bench would be set up and Aadhaar related petitions would come up for hearing before it in the last week of November.

Several petitions challenging the Centre’s move making Aadhaar mandatory for availing various services and benefits of welfare schemes have been filed in the apex court.

The Centre had on October 25 told the top court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to receive benefits of several government schemes has been extended till March 31, 2018 for those who do not have the 12-digit unique biometric identification number and were willing to enroll for it.

( Source – PTI )

SC refuses interim order agst Centre’s notification on Aadhaar

SC refuses interim order agst Centre's notification on Aadhaar
SC refuses interim order agst Centre’s notification on Aadhaar

The Supreme Court today refused to pass any interim order against the Centre’s notification making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of various social welfare schemes.

A vacation bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha said that no interim order can be passed at this stage on the “mere apprehension” of petitioners that government may deprive people from availing benefits of various social welfare schemes due to lack of Aadhaar.

The bench referred to the June 9 judgement passed by the apex court in which it had upheld the validity of an Income Tax Act provision making Aadhaar mandatory for allotment of PAN cards and filing of tax returns, but had put a partial stay on its implementation till a Constitution bench addressed the issue of right to privacy.

The bench said, “In view of the observations made in the judgement in Para 90 of the case… decided on June 9, no further observation is required.”

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that the Centre has extended the June 30 deadline to September 30 for those who do not have Aadhaar and are availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for petitioners, told the court that the Centre should be directed not to deprive any person of the benefits of social welfare schemes which he/she is enjoying now due to lack of Aadhaar.

“No interim order can be passed in mandamus on mere apprehensions. You have to wait for one week. If somebody is deprived (of the benefits) you can point out the same to this court,” the bench told Divan and posted the matter for further hearing on July 7.

The apex court was hearing three separate petitions challenging government’s notification making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of various social welfare schemes.

The Centre had on June 9 told the apex court that around 95.10 per cent of the entire population has voluntarily registered for Aadhaar and apprehension of “large-scale exclusion” of citizens from government benefits due to lack of unique number was “misplaced” and “unfounded”.

The government, in its counter affidavit filed in response to several petitions opposing the scheme, had quoted a World Bank 2016 report, which said if Aadhaar was applied to all social programmes and welfare distribution, it would save the government USD 11 billion annually.

The Centre had said that in 2014-16, the government’s savings through Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme on account of Aadhaar was Rs 49,560 crore.

It had said though the notification requires people to enroll for Aadhaar by June 30, those who are unable to get themselves enrolled due to lack of facilities, can give their contact details and would be registered later.

The UIDAI had said when Aadhaar has been adopted by several authorities in pursuant to directions by the apex court and as per legislative amendments by the Parliament, the court ought not to entertain applications seeking interim stay of notifications passed in pursuance to the Aadhaar Act 2016, as it would stall and interfere with the governance.

The Centre had on May 19, refused to extend the June 30 deadline for making Aadhaar mandatory for availing social scheme benefits.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had said “there is no question” of extending it and added that the idea behind making Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes was that the benefit should not go to “ghosts” as was noticed in schemes like the public distribution system (PDS).

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 their welfare schemes.

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

( Source – PTI )

SC questions Centre for making Aadhaar mandatory for PAN cards

SC questions Centre for making Aadhaar mandatory for PAN cards
SC questions Centre for making Aadhaar mandatory for PAN cards

The Supreme Court today questioned the Centre for making Aadhaar mandatory for procuring Permanent Account Number (PAN) card.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, told a bench headed by Justice A K Sikri that they have found that people were giving details of PAN cards which have been procured on the basis of fake documents.

Rohatgi said there were instances that one person was having a number of PAN cards and these fake cards were being used to divert funds to shell companies.

To this, the bench asked the Attorney General, “Is this the remedy that you need to have Aadhaar for having PAN? Why has it been made mandatory?”

Responding to this, Rohatgi said that earlier too they have found people procuring SIM cards for mobile phones on fake identity cards and the apex court had asked the government to have a check on it.

The bench said it would hear arguments on the plea challenging the government’s move making Aadhaar mandatory for PAN cards on April 25.

Through an amendment to the tax proposals in the Finance Bill of the Budget for 2017-18, the government has made Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns and provided for linking of PAN with Aadhaar to curb tax evasion through use of multiple PAN cards.

( Source – PTI )

Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory for welfare benefits: SC

Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory for welfare benefits: SC
Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory for welfare benefits: SC

The Supreme Court today made it clear that Aadhaar cards cannot be made mandatory by the government and its agencies for extending benefits of social welfare schemes.

A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul, however, said that government and its agencies cannot be stopped from seeking Aadhaar cards for non-welfare schemes like opening of bank accounts.

The bench also said that a seven-judge bench needed to be constituted for authoritatively deciding a batch of petitions challenging the Aadhaar scheme on grounds including that it infringes on the Right to Privacy of citizens.

It, however, expressed inability in setting up of the seven-judge bench saying it would be decided at a later stage.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for one of the petitioners, alleged that the Central government is not following the various orders passed by the apex court that the usage of Aadhaar would be voluntary and not mandatory.

The apex court on August 11, 2015 had said that Aadhaar card will not be mandatory for availing benefits of government’s welfare schemes and barred the authorities from sharing personal biometric data collected for enrolment under the scheme.

However, on October 15, 2015 it had lifted its earlier restriction and permitted the voluntary use of Aadhaar cards in welfare schemes that also included MGNREGA, all pension schemes and the provident fund besides ambitious flagship programmes like ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna’ of the NDA government.

( Source – PTI )

Data collection by pvt agencies for Aadhaar not a good idea: SC

Data collection by pvt agencies for Aadhaar not a good idea: SC
Data collection by pvt agencies for Aadhaar not a good idea: SC

The Supreme Court today refused to expedite the hearing of Aadhaar cases challenging the constitutional validity of the scheme but observed that data collection by private agencies is not a good idea.

A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar made the remarks after senior advocate Shyam Divan sought urgent hearing of the plea citing privacy concern.

“We are not inclined to give immediate hearing as there are limited resources but biometric data collection by private agencies is not a great idea,” the bench also comprising Justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud said.

Divan, who represented one of the petitioners, said that these matters needs urgent hearing as there is individual’s privacy concern as biometric datas are being collected by private agencies.

The apex court had on October 15, 2015 lifted its earlier restrictions and permitted voluntary use of Aadhaar cards in welfare schemes that also included MGNREGA, all pension schemes and provident fund, besides ambitious flagship programmes like ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna’ of the NDA government.

The social welfare schemes, aimed at reaching the door steps of the “poorest of the poor”, were in addition to LPG and PDS schemes in which the apex court had allowed the voluntary use of Aadhaar cards.

A five-judge constitution bench had put a caveat in its interim order for the Centre and said that Aadhaar card scheme is purely voluntary and not mandatory till the matter is finally decided by this court, this way or the other way.

It had said that that a larger bench was required to be set up for final disposal of the petitions that also include the question as to whether the right to privacy is fundamental right.

A three-judge bench had on August 11, 2015 referred a batch of petitions, challenging the Aadhaar card scheme, to a larger bench for an authoritative view on the question as to whether the right to privacy is fundamental right or not and had also restricted the use of Aadhaar to PDS and LPG scheme only.

UIDAI, established by UPA-2 in 2009, issues Aadhaar cards to the citizens.

Under the programme, every citizen is to be provided a 12-digit unique identification number for which biometric information is collected.

( Source – PTI )

Aadhaar row: Supreme Court assures decision by tomorrow on larger bench plea

Aadhaar row: Supreme Court assures decision by tomorrow on larger bench plea
Aadhaar row: Supreme Court assures decision by tomorrow on larger bench plea

During the brief hearing, Harish Salve suggested to the bench that instead of a nine-judge bench, a bench of five judges can be constituted to decide the applications seeking modification of the earlier order.

The Supreme Court today assured the Centre and bodies like SEBI and RBI that it will take a decision by tomorrow evening on their plea seeking setting up a larger bench for modifying an earlier order restricting the voluntary use of Aadhaar card to PDS and LPG schemes only.

“Please give me time till tomorrow evening. Let me decide it. The question is I have to spare nine judges for this. What will happen to other matters,” a bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu said when Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi mentioned the matter before it.

Rohatgi’s plea for urgent hearing of the application for modification of the earlier order was supported by a battery of senior lawyers, including K K Venugopal and Harish Salve.

“All social benefit schemes of the government are being affected. We seek the modification that the Aadhaar be allowed to be used voluntarily for the benefit of the poor and aged groups,” he said and referred to importance of Aadhaar in schemes like MNREGA and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.

During the brief hearing, Salve suggested to the bench that instead of a nine-judge bench, a bench of five judges can be constituted to decide the applications seeking modification of the earlier order.

The apex court had yesterday refused to modify its interim order and allow bodies like RBI and SEBI and some states to permit voluntary use of Aadhaar card for welfare schemes other than the public distribution system (PDS) and LPG schemes.

The court had made it clear that all applications seeking “modification, clarification and relaxation” of its August 11 interim order will be heard by a Constitution Bench. On August 11, the apex court had said that Aadhaar card will remain optional for availing welfare schemes of the government and the authorities will not use it for the purposes other than PDS and LPG distribution system.

The Centre, RBI, SEBI, IRDA, TRAI, Pension Fund Regulatory Authority and states like Gujarat and Jharkhand had recently moved the court and pitched strongly for voluntary use of Aadhaar cards for providing benefits of various schemes, other than PDS and LPG, at the doorstep of the aged people and the weaker sections.

( Source – PTI )

SC refuses to lift stay against Haryana breaching Bhakra canal

supreme courtThe Supreme Court Tuesday declined to vacate its Aug 17, 2007 order restraining Haryana from breaching the Bhakra Main Line (BML) canal and connecting it with its intra-state Hansi-Butana canal to draw part of its share of the Ravi-Beas waters.

“Stay is there for six years. Why should we disturb it now,” said a bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam as senior counsel Vinod Bobde pressed for an early hearing of Haryana’s application.

“If you insist we will list the application in the first week of March but order will be the same,” Chief Justice Sathasivam said as Bobde urged the court to hear the application.

The court said the matter would proceed only after evidence was led before the registrar and both the parties (Punjab and Haryana) will have to co-operate. “We will ask the registrar to hold the expeditious hearing to record submission by all the parties,” the court said declining to vacate its stay.

Haryana told the court that if it was not inclined to lift its stay, then the state may be permitted to draw part of its share of Ravi-Beas waters from BML by siphoning through pipes. This would take care of its requirement of water without interfering with the stay on rupturing the BML, it argued.

The application said the Hansi and Butana branches of the multipurpose channel were executed to correct the gross irrigation imbalance within the state and to bring much needed drinking and irrigation waters to the dry, arid, parched and drought prone areas of southern Haryana where annual irrigation intensity is as low as 8 percent.

Haryana contended that both Punjab and Rajasthan could not have any grievance as it was drawing only part of its share of water and it did not affect their quantum of water.

(Source: IANS)