New Delhi: A five-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court is likely to hear a clutch of petitions challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory to avail government schemes and welfare measures on Thursday. The Centre has maintained December 31, 2017, as the deadline by which Aadhaar is necessary to avail benefits, including government scholarships, subsidised LPG cylinders, farm loans and pension schemes.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said that the larger bench would sit at 2 PM tomorrow to take up the interlocutory applications seeking interim relief against the Centre’s decision on linking of Aadhaar with various schemes.
The Centre had on December 7 told the apex court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail various services and welfare schemes would shortly be extended till March 31 next year.
On November 27, the apex court had said it may consider setting up a constitution bench to hear pleas challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for availing various services and benefits of welfare schemes.
It had on October 30 said a constitution bench would commence hearing on the clutch of petitions against the Aadhaar scheme from the last week of November.
Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution. Several petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar had claimed it violated privacy rights.
The Centre had on October 25 told the top court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to receive benefits of government schemes has been extended till March 31, 2018 for those who do not have the 12-digit unique biometric identification number and were willing to enrol for it.
The Attorney General had told the court that no coercive action would be taken against those who do not have the Aadhaar card but are willing to enrol for. He had said such people would not be denied the benefits of social welfare schemes till March 31.
In a note to the court, the government had said that “those who have Aadhaar are required to seed/link their Aadhaar with SIM card, with bank account, PAN card and other schemes where section 7 notifications have been issued”.
“The government will be open for the deadline for linking Aadhaar to various programmes being extended for another three months till March 31, 2018 for those who do not have Aadhaar,” the note had said.