Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

June 30 deadline for Aadhaar not to be extended: Govt to SC

June 30 deadline for Aadhaar not to be extended: Govt to SC

The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court the deadline of June 30 for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various social welfare schemes could not be extended and contended that all matters pertaining to Aadhaar must be heard by a constitution bench which was already examining validity of the law. The bench, Justices A M Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha, said it would hear all petitions against making Aadhaar compulsory for various schemes to avoid multiplicity.

The petition, filed by Magsaysay award victor Shanta Sinha, argued that mandatory requirement of Aadhaar for these schemes "constrict rights and freedoms which a citizen has always been enjoying unless and until they part with their personal biometric information to the government".

At the outset of the hearing, Rohatgi raised preliminary objections telling the court that even earlier, a petition with identical prayers and identical paragraphs was filed six months ago and in none of them, any interim relief has been granted and are pending hearing by the constitution bench.

The court, after hearing both sides, said that it was hard for constitution bench to assemble during vacation.

Regarding Rohatgi's submission, he said that after the pleas were filed earlier, the Centre had subsequently issued a series of notifications making Aadhaar mandatory for schemes.

Rohatgi said that Aadhaar was being made compulsory so that benefits of schemes do not "go to ghosts". One expects that the State will respect the order of this court. "The bench had said that no person can be deprived of these schemes for want of Aadhaar", PTI quoted him as saying.

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Divan said the entire architecture of Aadhaar was to put the citizens under "survelliance" and dominate them. "The matter needed to be heard urgently", Divan had told the court ahead of today's hearing.

Seeking the response on the plea by Sinha and Menon, the bench gave three weeks time to Centre and one week time to the petitioner to file of their rejoinder. "Leaks were happening in schemes like PDS".

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi also reminded that pleas seeking similar relief were pending and the matter is to be heard by a five-judge constitution bench.

Strongly opposing the petition, Mr Rohatgi made it clear that the government was not going to extend the deadline of June 30 by which various schemes such as grant of scholarships, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and various other social welfare schemes were to seek mandatory Aadhaar number.

He said if a person does not have Aadhaar till June 30, he can get himself enrolled for it and enrollment slips and slips of request made for it would also serve the objective.

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