A Supreme Court bench on Friday said all matters arising out of the Aadhaar issue must be heard by a Constitution Bench.
“My opinion is that once a matter has been referred to a Constitution bench, then all the issues arising out of it should be with the Constitution bench. I can only say that a matter can be disposed of by a nine-judge bench. You two can decide the possibility of nine judges hearing it,” Justice J Chelameswar, who was heading a three-judge bench, told Attorney-General K K Venugopal and senior counsel Shyam Diwan appearing for the petitioners.
The three-judge bench, which also included Justices A M Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha, asked the Attorney-General and the petitioner’s counsel to jointly urge the Chief Justice of India to form a Constitution bench at the earliest to hear the matter.
In a relief to the government, the bench refused to stay its move making Aadhaar mandatory to derive various welfare scheme benefits.
A different Supreme Court bench had said in May that the case pertaining to the Aadhaar law should be heard by a Constitution bench. The case is pending as the Constitution bench has not been formed.
But on Friday, the apex court bench hearing a case challenging the Centre’s move linking government benefits to the Aadhaar card said “all the issues arising out of it should be with the Constitution bench”.
In the course of the hearing in this case on Friday, the Centre took strong exception to remarks by Diwan that the country was “becoming a concentration camp” with the introduction of the unique identity number.
“My friend is getting carried away by making statements like India is becoming concentration camp. I have to object (to it) or tomorrow papers will carry headings like this,’’ Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, told the bench headed by Justice J Chalameswar.
Jutice Chalameswar said the court could not control anyone’s language unless it was unparliamentary, to which Venugopal responded by saying that he felt the language was unparliamentary.