The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea challenging the linking of mobile numbers with Aadhaar, saying several similar petitions were already pending before it. The apex court said it may not be necessary to entertain one more petition as the PILs were raising similar issue. A bench of justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan granted liberty to petitioner Tehseen Poonawala to file an application for impleadment as a party in the pending matter, which are scheduled to come up before a Constitution Bench in the last week of this month.
“As a number of writ petitions have already been filed raising the issue which is raised in the present petition, it may not be necessary to entertain one more petition as PIL. It would be open to the petitioner to intervene in the petitions already filed by moving an appropriate application,” the bench said and disposed of the plea.
Advocate Zoheb Hossain, representing the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), had earlier told the bench that 27 petitions related to Aadhaar were already pending consideration before the apex court. The plea filed by Poonawala had sought a direction for quashing of the notification of March 23, issued by Department of Telecommunication (DoT) on the issue of linking mobile numbers with Aadhaar, and holding it “unconstitutional” and “null and void”. It also sought direction to the telecom operators to prevent them from implementing the notification and destroy the data already collected.
The apex court had on February 6 asked the Centre to put in place within a year an effective mechanism to scrutinise the details of identity of over 100 crore existing and future mobile telephone consumers. It had on November 3 made it clear that banks and telecom service providers will have to indicate the last date of linking bank accounts and mobile numbers with Aadhaar in their communications with customers.
Currently, the last date to link Aadhaar with bank accounts is December 31 this year while for mobile numbers, it is February 6, 2018. On October 30, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had said a constitution bench would be set up and Aadhaar-related matters would come up for hearing before it in November last.