A two-judge Supreme Court bench asks the Mamata Banerjee government to modify its plea challenging the mandatory use of Aadhaar for various schemes
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the West Bengal government to modify its plea challenging the mandatory use of Aadhaar for various schemes.
A two-judge bench, headed by justice A.K.Sikri, pulled up the state government and said that it should limit the scope of challenge to a specific issue that needs to be addressed. “How can a state government challenge a law made by the Parliament? Let Mamata Banerjee come in her individual capacity, if she so wishes," the court said.
The apex court was hearing two pleas challenging Aadhaar—one by the West Bengal government challenging the mandatory linking of Aadhaar to various schemes and another challenging its mandatory linking with mobile numbers.
The court also issued a notice to the Centre on the plea challenging the mandatory linking of Aadhaar with mobile numbers on which it has been asked to respond in four weeks.
On 25 October, the Centre had told the court that it was willing to extend the deadline for linking Aadhaar to various schemes to 31 March next year. It was, however, clarified that this would apply only to those who have not yet enrolled for Aadhaar.
The attorney general is expected to inform the court of its decision on this later in the day.
On 24 August, in a path-breaking ruling, the apex court held that privacy is a fundamental right under the Constitution of India.
A total of 22 cases have been tagged by the court to be heard by a smaller bench on Aadhaar. They challenge several aspects of Aadhaar and the use and sharing of data collected under the programme. This bench is yet to be formed.
Among these challenges are those involving making Aadhaar mandatory for social welfare benefits, infringement of the right to privacy, and making Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns and for obtaining and retaining a permanent account number, or PAN. A challenge to its linking to mobile phones will also be addressed by the court.
The centre had last extended the deadline for obtaining Aadhaar for availing government schemes and subsidies by three months to 31 December. The extension was to be applicable only for those who are yet to apply for Aadhaar.
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