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Aadhaar's architecture of state surveillance of the citizens, SC told

IANS  |  New Delhi 

The Supreme on Friday was told that the entire architecture of scheme was that of state surveillance of the citizens as the was in possession of entire electronic record of the citizens.

The bench of Justice A.M.Khanwilkar and Justice Navin Sinha was also told that the central was in breach of its earlier assurance that information (biometric details) furnished by the people at the time of applying for number would not be shared with anyone.

"They are in breach of it," senior counsel Shyam Divan told the bench as it inquired from Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi about the assurance given by the Centre that it would not share with anyone the biometric information given by people at the time of applying for card.

As Justice Khanwilkar asked: "You have made a statement that the information collected in the course of enrolment will not be shared with anybody," both Rohatgi and Divan made a near simultaneous response. Rohatgi said he was "taken over by law", referring to the Act 2016.

"Parliament passed the law and parliament can't be injuncted," he added.

The Attorney General noted that the was insisting on number for availing the benefits under various social welfare schemes to eliminate ghosts beneficiaries as had happened in the case of public distribution scheme and other schemes.

His contention came in the course of the hearing of petition by Shanta Sinha and Kalyani Sen Menon challenging series of 17 notifications issued by since February this year making number mandatory for availing benefits under various social welfare schemes including mid-day meal and disability pensions as well as for victims of Bhopal gas tragedy.

Seeking the response on the plea by Sinha and Menon, the bench gave three weeks time to Centre and one week time to the petitioner to file of their rejoinder.

Sinha was the first Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and a Magsaysay award recipient while Menon is a feminist researcher.

At the outset of the hearing, Rohatgi raised preliminary objections telling the that even earlier, a petition with identical prayers and identical paragraphs was filed six months ago and in none of them, any interim relief has been granted and are pending hearing by the constitution bench.

He said this was an abuse of the process of

As Rohatgi said that even the present petition should be heard by the constitution bench, Divan wondered why he was fighting shy of hearing of the matter on merits.

As the pitch of the arguments on both the sides became high, Justice Sinha quipped that air-conditioning in the room was good.

The bench however took exception to Divan saying that it should be cleared whether this petition can be heard by two judge bench or the constitution bench lest citizens are left to "grovel" before the

"Please don't say that common citizen is not heard by the court," said Justice Khanwilkar pointing out that the doors of the were always open to people.

Also taking exception to the use of word "grovel", Rohatgi recalled that once he was summoned at 2 a.m. in connection with an urgent hearing.

Admitting that some of the prayers were same, Divan said that they have filed a number of applications and the same were not being taken by the registry.

At this, the bench said that it would be better if the petition by Sinha and Menon and earlier applications filed by other petitioners are heard together in one go and fixed June 27 for the further hearing of the matter.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 19 2017. 18:56 IST