NEW DELHI: The Centre on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court to refer the pleas for scrapping the Aadhaar project to a Constitution Bench and reiterated that privacy was not a fundamental right as it was not guaranteed by the Constitution.
“A two-judge or a three-judge Bench cannot decide it,” Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a three-judge Bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar. The matter, whether privacy is a part of the right to liberty and thus a fundamental right, should be referred to a larger Bench, Rohatgi said.
He cited various previous orders, like those in the cases related to A K Gopalan, Maneka Gandhi and bank nationalisation, which stated that only a larger Bench could adjudicate on certain fundamental rights.
Earlier, saying the Aadhaar card was not mandatory, the government had opposed a plea to initiate contempt of court proceedings against it, the Reserve Bank of India, the Election Commission and others for insisting on the card for granting the benefits of various schemes to citizens.
In pursuance of earlier orders of the apex court, the Centre has instructed states and authorities concerned not to make Aadhaar cards, issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India, mandatory for availing of various schemes, Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand had told the court.
The Bench is hearing a batch of pleas against some states’ decisions to make Aadhaar cards compulsory for a range of activities, including salary and provident fund disbursal, and the registration of marriages and property. The government had also said that persons having Aadhaar cards were being asked to provide their details to the authorities but this was optional.
UP Govt Moves SC in Yadav Singh Case
A day after the CBI registered two cases against Noida Authority’s former chief engineer Yadav Singh in corruption cases, the Uttar Pradesh Government approached the Supreme Court on Wednesday against the Allahabad High Court order for a CBI probe into corruption charges against Singh.
The apex court is likely to hear the plea on August 7.
Singh allegedly amassed assets worth Rs 1,000 crore and has been absconding.
The High Court on July 16 had ordered a CBI probe into allegations against Singh, based on a PIL filed by social activist Nutan Thakur accusing him of largescale corruption during his brisk rise in the Noida Authority during the BSP and the SP regimes between 2007 and 2014.