Constitution bench to hear Aadhaar, privacy issues

Aadhaar Constitution Bench Supreme Court Aadhaar Aadhaar right to privacy

A five-judge Constitution bench will examine the validity of Aadhaar next week

Petitioners cited finger prints and iris scan among the personal details that are collected as a violation of right to privacy.

Divan then said they would conclude the arguments in two days, following which Justice Khehar fixed the matter for hearing on July 18 and 19 before the Constitution Bench.

Requesting an early hearing, the Centre on Wednesday had said, "Millions of people are involved in the outcome of the case". This is the first time that the Centre has formally joined the petitioner's side to mention for an early hearing by a larger Bench.

The bench, the members of which will be known soon, will consider if the mandatory nature of the scheme is an infringement on a citizen's right to privacy. Former Karnataka High Court judge Justice K S Puttaswamy and others had challenged the legal validity of Aadhaar in 2012. In 1954 and 1964, Supreme Court benches ruled that there was no fundamental right to privacy.

A Bench led by Justice A.K. Sikri had in February referred the appeals to the Chief Justice to constitute a Constitution Bench of the appropriate number of judges. It would then be decided whether a nine judge Bench would be required to hear the matter, the court also said.

The five-judge bench will hear the concerns over privacy implications of mandating Aadhar card.

A two-judge bench of the apex court had on June 27 refused to pass an interim order against the Centres notification making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of social welfare schemes, with the government assuring it that no one would be deprived for want of this identification. Sinha is the former NCPCR chairperson and Magsaysay victor.

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