SC Constitution bench to hear Aadhaar challenge on privacy issue

Posted July 13, 2017

The petitioners had alleged that collection of personal details like finger prints and iris scan violated the right to privacy. The hearings will commence on July 18.

SC was hearing three separate petitions challenging Centre's notification to make Aadhaar mandatory for social schemes.

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The oft-made request comes on the heels of an observation made by Justice Jasti Chelameshwar, who had said that a Constitution bench should dispose of all matters arising out of the Aadhaar issue once and for all.

Despite a Bench led by him, in 2015, Justice Chelameswar enquired why the court had not heard the main plea on the constitutionality of Aadhaar, having referred it for hearing by a Constitution Bench. Recently, a statutory provision was upheld by the court making linking of Aadhaar with PAN mandatory. In 1954 and 1964, Supreme Court benches ruled that there was no fundamental right to privacy.

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Both Divan and Venugopal also agreed that the matter should be first heard by a Constitution Bench of 5 judges and if that Bench feels that the matter requires consideration by a larger Bench, only then a Bench of more than 5 need to be constituted. An eight-judge Bench of the court decided the Sharma case, while a six-judge bench, delivered the judgment of Kharak Singh. Recently, the Centre had termed Aadhaar a "transformational home-grown IT project".

The five-judge bench will hear the concerns over privacy implications of mandating Aadhar card.

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The apex court had, last month, refused to pass an interim order against the Centre's notification, with the government assuring it that no one would be deprived for want of this identification.