New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre by 24 September on whether it was in the process of formulating laws, rules or guidelines with respect to linking of Aadhaar details with social media accounts. The apex court will decide on Facebook Inc’s transfer petition only after the Centre’s response.
An apex court bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose was hearing a plea by Facebook Inc, wherein the US-based company has sought the transfer of various petitions on linking Aadhaar to individual profiles pending before different high courts to the Supreme Court.
Two writ petitions were filed in the Madras High Court in July last year, seeking interlinking of Aadhaar with social media accounts for identity authentication purposes.
"At this stage we do not know whether we could decide this issue or the high court will decide," said the division bench, also adding that matter needs to be decided at the earliest.
The bench clarified that since this was a transfer petition, the matter could not be decided on the merit of the case as it stands.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that it has no objection to transfer of the cases from high courts to the top court.
Facebook, in its plea, contended that there were four petitions, including two in the Madras high court and one each in the Bombay high court and Madhya Pradesh high court, which contained similar prayers. The plea said the Supreme Court should hear the petitions pending in the various high courts collectively to avoid conflicting judgements.
The social media giant also said that sharing of Aadhaar details would infringe on the privacy of users.
The Tamil Nadu government, respondents in the case, has filed a counter affidavit, saying that the Facebook transfer plea before the apex court was replete with "false and misleading averments" and was a blatant attempt to misguide the Court for oblique motives.
It also sought modification of the 20 August order of the apex court, directing the Madras High Court to continue hearing of pleas for linkage of social media profiles with Aadhaar but restraining it from passing any effective orders. The high court is at an advanced stage of hearing but due to the apex court's, it has deferred the hearings on those petitions, the state government said in its reply.