AADHAAR CARD MATTERS TO BE HEARD BY CONSTITUTION BENCH

Whilst protests arising from various fronts upon making Aadhaar Card (Unique Identification Number) mandatory for several purposes and legal documentations, it is also rapidly increasing its stronghold as a centralized information database on a predominant proportion of India’s population. Aadhaar is currently linked to several documents like PAN, Mobile Number, Ration Card, etc. and there are initiatives on the part of the Govt to bring more services within its scope. Along with it, the Govt recently made a move to make Aadhaar linked with social welfare schemes which was opposed and contested in the Supreme Court recently, and the Court stated that all matters related to Aadhaar must be decided by a Constitution Bench, to bring about a final rule on the matter.

The newly appointed Attorney General Mr. K K Venugopal appeared for the first time before the Court after his appointment, in the matter that was put before a three-judge Bench last week. The Court opined that the matter must be settled finally by way of judgment of a larger Bench, and recommended to both the appearing Counsels to have the matter requested to the Chief Justice to constitute a larger Bench to pronounce a decision on all Aadhaar related cases. Only recently, the 270th Report of the Law Commission of India recommended that marriages being registered also be linked to Aadhaar in order to reduce instances of false particulars being furnished by parties. If this recommendation receives approval of the Ministry, UID would become linked to the marriage information of the citizens under the rule of compulsory registration of marriages that is already being moved by the Govt. Earlier Orders of the Supreme Court on various occasions pronounced that Aadhaar must not regarded mandatory by Govt agencies for extending benefits under social welfare schemes, but allowed that it may be sought voluntarily from citizens for services like LPG subsidy, Jan Dhan Yojana, etc.

In the light of the plethora of cases that have been arising in relation to the matter, and since presumably the statistics are bound to increase with each new addition being made by the Govt to the purview of Aadhaar, a Constitution Bench has been constituted to hear and finally decide all related matters related to Aadhaar. The five-judge Bench will hear the matter next week, and it is hoped that the decision will bring some clarity to all related matters so that multiple litigations on issues related to Aadhaar will be resolved to some extent.

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