Govt wants SC bench on Aadhaar soon

The Centre asked the Chief Justice of India on Thursday to constitute a larger bench to determine if the right to privacy is a fundamental right, a day after the Supreme Court refused to modify an interim order restricting the use of Aadhaar.

The remit of Aadhaar has been a subject of controversy as rights groups have argued the collection of personal details by state agencies is tantamount to a violation of privacy, particularly as the government cannot guarantee the data would not be susceptible to misuse.

Attor ney general Mukul Rohatgi said the two-judge bench’s order disallowing the government and its various agencies to use Aadhaar on a voluntary basis affected several social welfare schemes. The court of Justice J Chelameswar said on Wednesday the government’s request to modify the August 11 interim order could be looked into only by a larger bench.

“We seek the modification that Aadhaar be allowed to be used voluntarily for the benefit of the poor and aged groups,” Rohatgi said. CJI HL Dattu said he would take some decision by Friday evening.

Later on Thursday evening, a notice on the SC website said the matter would be listed before a constitution bench on October 14 at 2pm. It, however, did not mention the composition of the bench.

“If I make a bench of nine judges, the work here will suffer. You must understand my problem also. Early hearing is not possible. But since you have brought it to my notice, I shall look into it and take a decision by tomorrow (Friday) evening,” Dattu said.

Hindustan Times, New Delhi, 9th Oct. 2015

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