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SC stays verdict on pleas challenging validity of Aadhaar: Top 5 points

A five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by CJI Dipak Misra, is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme and its enabling law

BS Web Team | PTI  |  New Delhi 

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Supreme Court judge, Justice D Y Chandrachud, the son of late Chief Justice of India Y V Chandrachud, recalled a personal experience during the hearing on the Aadhaar issue. File photo

A five-judge of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) on Thursday reserved its judgement on the Aadhaar matter. Several appeals were filed challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar. Supreme Court judge Justice D Y Chandrachud, while hearing the petitions challenging the Aadhaar scheme's constitutional validity, on Wednesday recalled a personal experience of how his mother, who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease, had faced difficulty in authentication to get her pension. Justice Chandrachud is part of the five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, which is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme and its enabling law of 2016.

A battery of lawyers including Attorney General K K Venugopal, who represented the Centre and senior advocates like Kapil Sibal, P Chidambaram, Rakesh Dwivedi, Shyam Divan, Arvind Datar, Rakesh Dwivedi had appeared for various parties.

The also comprised Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.

During the arguments spread over four months, the Centre had strongly defended its decision to seed Aadhaar numbers with mobile phones, telling the top court that it could have been hauled up for contempt if the verification of mobile users was not undertaken by it.

However, the court had said that the government had misinterpreted its order and used it as a "tool" to make Aadhaar mandatory for mobile users.

Former Karnataka High Court judge Justice K S Puttaswamy and other petitioners had challenged the constitutional validity of Aadhaar.

The court had also not agreed with the government's contention that the was correctly termed as a Money Bill by the Lok Sabha Speaker as it dealt with "targeted delivery of subsidies" for which funds came from the Consolidated Fund of India.

On May 3, the Centre had strongly defended its decision to seed Aadhaar numbers with mobile phones, telling the top court that it could have been hauled up for contempt if the verification of mobile users was not undertaken by it. However, the court had said that the government had misinterpreted its order and used it as a "tool" to make Aadhaar mandatory for mobile users. The petitioners had referred to the technical experts' views on the technical aspect of the Aadhaar architecture and said that real-time surveillance of citizens was possible. Earlier, the court also did not agree with the government's contention that the was correctly termed as a Money Bill by the Lok Sabha Speaker as it dealt with "targeted delivery of subsidies" for which funds come from the Consolidated Fund of India. Here's what happened in court while the Aadhaar hearing was on: 1) SC reserves judgement on pleas challenging Aadhaar: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and its enabling 2016 law.

A five-judge headed by Chief Justice directed all the parties concerned to file their written submissions to put forth their case.

The judgement was reserved after a marathon hearing which went on for 38 days spanning four months. 2) Justice Chandrachud's mother had to authenticate ID every month for her pension: failures could create problems for those in need and some solution had to be found to address the issue, said the Bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, and Ashok Bhushan. Recalling his experience, Justice Chandrachud said "my mother, who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease was entitled to family pension being the wife of a former Chief Justice of India (late Justice Y V Chandrachud)". "She had to give a for authentication.

I recall, every month the bank manager or his representative would come home and affix her thumb print on certain documents and only then could she get the pension," Justice Chandrachud said. "So it (authentication) is a serious issue. It's not largesse. It is not charity... we have to find answers for these problems," he said, adding that there was a class of needy people who may not get the benefits due to authentication failures. ALSO READ: Aadhaar doesn't pose any privacy issue and is worth emulating: Bill Gates 3) Senior advocate says 90-year-old woman who is unwell being threatened by bank over Aadhaar: The apex court judge was responding to the arguments of senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for former High Court judge Justice (Retd) K S Puttaswamy, who said a 90-year-old woman suffering from various ailments is being threatened that her bank account could be closed for non-authentication by Aadhaar. Divan said that through that bank account, she was getting her pension and she uses that money for her treatment as she has no one else to look after her. "There are numerous cases where the failures of the elderly, people suffering from any disease or physical disability, leads to to those otherwise entitled to it," Diwan said. He said in many villages, young people have now migrated to cities or nearby towns and only the elderly residing there were dependent on their pension or other grants. But due to failure, they were not getting the benefits. ALSO READ: Govt defends in Supreme Court its decision on Aadhaar linking with mobiles 4) Senior advocate tries to poke holes in World Bank report praising Aadhaar: Divan sought to assail a World Bank report which had praised the Aadhaar project and which was relied upon by the government to bolster its case for the 12-digit unique identification number. He said the World Bank had partnered with a private entity for preparing the report titled 'Identification for Development'. Divan claimed that the same private entity was also the company with which had partnered to facilitate Aadhaar. ALSO READ: PF-Aadhaar seeding portal hacked, EPFO refutes claim: All you need to know 5) Advocate Divan says Aadhaar authentication should not be made compulsory for certain schemes: Divan told the apex court that there were 144 notifications issued by various ministries and departments of the government which covered 252 schemes. The senior lawyer concluded his rejoinder arguments saying that essential government schemes that apply to children or relate to citizen's rehabilitation, food, health, and nutrition should be excluded from the requirement of Aadhaar authentication.

First Published: Thu, May 10 2018. 17:14 IST
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