The Supreme Court today said it would hear next week a plea challenging the Department of Telecommunication (DoT's) notification on mandatory linking of mobile numbers with Aadhaar. The matter came up for hearing before a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan and the counsel appearing for the petitioner sought adjournment on the ground that senior lawyer K T S Tulsi, who would argue the case, was not available.
The matter was then fixed for hearing on November 13. The fresh plea has been filed by Tehseen Poonawala seeking direction to quash the DoT notification of March 23 and hold it as "unconstitutional" and "null and void". It has also sought direction to the telecom operators to prevent them from implementing this notification and destroy the data already collected from the customers. Recently, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had said that a constitution bench would be set up and Aadhaar related petitions would come up for hearing before it in the last week of November. Several petitions challenging the Centre's move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for availing various services and benefits of welfare schemes have been filed in the apex court. 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 apex court had on February 6 this year asked the Centre to put in place within a year an effective mechanism to scrutinise the details of the identity of over 100 crore existing and future mobile telephone consumers. The court had suggested that the existing pre-paid mobile users, who are 90 per cent of the total mobile users, may be asked to give identity details at the time of re-charge as done while giving him or her a fresh SIM card.