The Supreme Court today said that all the issues arising out of Aadhaar should be finally decided by its constitution bench. A three-judge bench, headed by Justice J Chelameswar, asked the parties to urge the Chief Justice to set up a constitution bench to decide the issues relating to Aadhaar. “We suggest both of you (petitioners and the Centre) to request Chief Justice to constitute a larger bench so that these matters can be decided finally,” the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha, said. Attorney General K K Venugopal and senior advocate Shyam Divan, who is representing the petitioners, said they would mention the matter before the Chief Justice and request him to set up a constitution bench to hear the matters relating to Aadhaar.
A vacation bench of the apex 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 the various social welfare schemes due to the lack of Aadhaar, especially when no such affected person has come before it.
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The apex 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 their welfare schemes. 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.