News update: Aadhaar case mentioned by AG before SC bench

The Aadhar cases were mentioned before a bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday (October 25th) by the Attorney General K.K.Venugopal. The bench comprised of CJI Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud. Attorney General K.K.Venugopal appeared on behalf of the Union of India, Advocate Zoheb Hussain for UIDAI. Senior Advocates Anand Grover, Shyam Divan, Arvind Datar and Meenakshi Arora appeared for the petitioners.

The AG submitted a request for the hearings in the Aadhaar cases to be deferred to March. He cited the formation of the B.N. Sri Krishna Committee constituted to formulate a data protection law. He submitted that there would be no new legislation and no new changes to the existing position but the deadline for mandatory Aadhaar linking would be shifted to the 31st of March.

Senior Advocate Shyam Divan objected to the request for further deferral of the hearing stating that manner in which Aadhaar is spreading is completely unconstitutional. He submitted that there were people with Aadhaar who did not want to link it to bank accounts and mobile phones. He said that government was extending the deadline only for those without Aadhaar but continuing to coerce those with Aadhaar. He explained more problems being faced due to Aadhaar including for school children who were mandated to be enrolled and give up their biometrics to the UIDAI in order to sit for exams.

Senior Advocate Arvind Datar submitted that the notification requiring the mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, Rules must be stayed. Senior counsels for the petitioners highlighted the exclusion faced by people due to Aadhaar and said that people are dying due to denial of rations. Senior Advocate Anand Geover specifically highlighted an order of Jharkhand govt by which it has now withdrawn the compulsory linking of Aadhaar to rations following the starvation death of a young girl.

The Union Government through the AG handed over a document suggesting that the deadline for mandatory linking for those without Aadhaar be extended to the 31st March 2018. The AG said he would take further instructions on the issue of people who do have Aadhaar and will return to the Court on Monday.

No order was passed by the Court today. The matter will be mentioned again by the AG on Monday(October 30th).