A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Monday referred the Aadhaar matter to a larger bench to decide whether linking of the pan card with the 12-digit biometric identification number would breach privacy.
The bench comprising of Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, and Justices DY Chandrachud, J Chelameswar, SA Bobde and Abdul Nazeer, passed the order on Tuesday. The matter will be taken up for hearing tomorrow in the Supreme Court.
The larger bench would examine the correctness of the two judgements delivered in the cases of Kharak Singh and M P Sharma in which it was held that right to privacy was not a fundamental right.
While the Kharak Singh judgement was delivered by a six- judge bench in 1960, the M P Sharma verdict was reported in 1950 and was delivered by an eight-judge Constitution bench.
The Centre has maintained that right to privacy is not a fundamental right. In 2015, then attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, citing previous judgments, informed the Supreme Court that citizens are not guaranteed the right to privacy under the Indian Constitution. The counsel for one of the 22 petitioners in the Aadhaar case has, however, compared the situation to one under a “totalitarian” state where people were being forcefully tagged and tracked by the Centre.