The Supreme Court on Monday said it will set up a Constitution bench next week to hear a batch of petitions seeking stay on mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts, mobile phone numbers, etc.
The Supreme Court on Monday said it will set up a Constitution bench next week to hear a batch of petitions seeking stay on mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts, mobile phone numbers, etc. The issue of seeking stay was raised before a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra who said the court would take it up in the week to come. It said only the constitution bench will pass an interim order in the matter. Senior counsel Shyam Divan, appearing for one of the petitioners, urged the court for an interim stay in line with the court’s October 30 order that had directed a five-judge Constitution bench to begin hearing the various challenges against Aadhaar during November-end. Meanwhile, the Centre told the SC that it was willing to extend up to March 31 next year the deadline fixed for mandatory linking of the 12-digit unique biometric identification number with various schemes. At present, the last date to link Aadhaar with bank accounts is December 31 and for mobile numbers, it is February 6. “We are willing to extend the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to various services till March 31 next year,” the Centre told the apex court.
Attorney General KK Venugopal had told the bench earlier that the government was willing to extend the deadline for linking Aadhaar to various schemes to March 31, but he had clarified this would apply only to those who have not yet enrolled for Aadhaar. The apex court had on November 13 refused to entertain a plea challenging the linking of mobile numbers with Aadhaar, saying several similar petitions were already pending before it. It had, however, on November 3 asked the public not to panic and told the government to direct mobile service providers and banks to specify the last dates for linking mobile numbers and bank accounts to Aadhaar in the SMSs and e-mails they send to their subscribers.
Apart from a batch of 22 petitions, two fresh pleas challenging Aadhaar — one by the West Bengal government on the mandatory linking of Aadhaar to various schemes, and another challenging its mandatory linking with mobile numbers — are also being heard by the apex court. The petitions also include one by former Karnataka High Court judge Justice KS Puttuswamy challenging the validity of the Aadhaar Act on the ground it violated the fundamental right to privacy.