Chief Justice to hear plea for Constitution bench on Aadhaar

Posted July 13, 2017

A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will hear from July 18 whether collection of biometric information, like fingerprints and iris, for the objective of obtaining Aadhaar card will violate the fundamental right to privacy.

Attorney General KK Venugopal and senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the petitioners, requested for an early hearing by the Constitution Bench.

The matter was mentioned before a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud, as on July 7, a three-judge bench had said that all issues arising out of Aadhaar should finally be decided by a larger bench, preferably comprising more than five-judges.

The question on the validity of Aadhaar scheme on the touchstone of whether privacy was fundamental right was referred to the constitution bench in October 2015.

CJI Khehar then proceeded to ask how much time both parties would take for their submissions. The hearing was then fixed for July 18 by the Chief Justice.

The court has to also consider the question whether the appeals would have to be heard by an 11-judge Bench of the Supreme Court. I can only say that a matter can be disposed of by a nine-judge bench.

They contended that it violated the apex court's order of 2013 that no one can be denied benefits of any scheme due to absence of Aadhaar.

Two main grievances with the Aadhaar Act include the Centre's move to make it mandatory for social schemes and the aspect of right to privacy.

Earlier, the court stated that no interim order could be passed on grounds of petitioner's "apprehension" that somebody might be deprived of benefits, since no victim of such a situation has come forward.