Supreme Court’s Constitution bench to hear case today against mandatory linking of Aadhaar Number

Last Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017, 00:02
Supreme Court’s Constitution bench to hear case today against mandatory linking of Aadhaar Number
A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will start hearing the issue of interim stay against mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phone numbers, on Thursday. Supreme Court will start hearing today a bunch of petitions seeking stay on the government`s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits under various social welfare schemes as well as its linkage to bank accounts and mobile phone connections.

The bench comprises five judges - Chief Justice Dipak Misra, justices DY Chandrachud, AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar and Ashok Bhushan. The matter was mentioned before a bench headed by the Chief Justice who said that the Constitution bench will be set up by Thursday to hear the case. On 30 October, the apex court referred all Aadhaar cases to the five-judge Constitution bench.

Meanwhile, the government yesterday extended the deadline till 31st March next year for submission of Aadhaar number, and Permanent Account Number or Form 60 by a client for certain financial transactions like the opening of a bank account. On 7th of this month, the deadline for linking PAN with Aadhaar was also extended by three months to 31st of March next year.

The matter was mentioned before a bench headed by CJI Misra who said that the Constitution bench would be set up by Thursday to address the question of interim stay against mandatory linking of Aadhaar.

This came after repeated attempts by the petitioners for an early hearing on the issue. Shyam Divan, senior advocate and one of the petitioners, had previously asked the court to set up a Constitution bench for an interim stay in line with the court’s order of 30 October under which the Constitution bench was supposed to begin hearing the various challenges against Aadhaar in the last week of November.

On 30 October, the apex court referred all Aadhaar cases to a five-judge Constitution bench to be formed by the end of November. Till such time as the Constitution bench passes any orders, the government can continue to use Aadhaar for its various programmes.

On 7 December, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), clarified that notifications making Aadhaar mandatory for availing various welfare programmes as well as linking it with bank accounts, PAN and mobile phone SIM cards would remain valid. This means that the consumers will have to adhere to the various deadlines for Aadhaar linking until further orders of the court.

While the deadline for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts and PAN has been extended to 31 March, it is still 6 February for mobile phone SIM cards.
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