The Supreme Court Thursday agreed to hear a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act on Friday. The matter was mentioned before a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar and the counsel representing the petitioner sought an urgent hearing, saying similar pleas were already listed for hearing before the apex court tomorrow.
Karnataka-based Mathew Thomas has moved the top court challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act claiming that it infringes upon the Right to Privacy and the biometric mechanism was not working properly. On October 30, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had said that a Constitution bench would be constituted and Aadhaar-related matters would come up for hearing before it in the last week of November.
Several petitions challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for availing various services and benefits of government welfare schemes have been filed in the apex court. Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution. Several petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar had claimed it violated privacy rights. The Centre had on October 25 told the Supreme Court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to receive the benefits of government schemes has been extended till March 31, 2018 for those who do not have the 12-digit unique biometric identification number and were willing to enroll for it.
Some petitioners in the top court have termed the linking of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) number with bank accounts and mobile numbers as “illegal and unconstitutional”.
They also objected to the CBSE’s alleged move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for students appearing for examinations, a contention denied by the Centre. One of the counsel representing the petitioners had earlier said that final hearing in the main Aadhaar matter, which is pending before the apex court, was necessary as the government “cannot compel” citizens to link their Aadhaar with either bank accounts or cell phone numbers.