The Centre today told the Supreme Court that it has already spent a substantial amount of money on implementing the Aadhar scheme and it would be too late to scrap the programme which is a pivotal link to various welfare schemes.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the apex court that a large number of citizens have enrolled in Aadhaar and doing away with the unique identity programme may have an adverse impact.
“These are questions of huge importance. The nature of questions raised and the impact on governance of this country is huge. The sweep is so large,” the AG said and asked the apex court to refer the case to a five-judge Constitution bench.
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice J Chelameswar, said it would hear the case on the issue of referring it to a larger bench tomorrow.
Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for NGO Centre for Civil Society, supported the AG’s plea and said the issue involves larger questions of law related to privacy and surveillance.
The bench, hearing a batch of pleas against decisions of some states to make Aadhaar cards compulsory for a range of activities including salary, PF disbursals and marriage and property registrations, will resume the hearing tomorrow.
Earlier, the court had said Aadhaar will not be mandatory and a person, who does not have Aadhaar, should not suffer in availing government benefits and services like gas connections, vehicle registration, scholarships, marriage registration and provident fund.
It had asked the Centre not to issue Aadhaar cards to illegal immigrants as it would legitimise their stay.