Constitution Bench to hear Aadhaar case

A plea seeks reversal of Centre’s order to make Aadhaar compulsory even for non-social security services.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to pass an interim order against making Aadhaar card compulsory for availing scholarships, giving examination, admission in colleges, domestic air travel and getting mobile connection. It said the matter will be referred to the Constitution Bench.

A Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan had last week reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging a new law to link Aadhaar with permanent account number for income-tax returns from July this year.

In a new writ petition, Shantha Sinha and Kalyani Menon Sen drew the court’s attention to a series of notifications issued by ministries and authorities, making it compulsory for citizens to have Aadhaar card by June 30, failing which benefits will not be extended.

Senior counsel Shyam Divan pleaded for stay of the notifications in terms of the earlier order passed by the Constitution bench that Aadhaar card cannot be insisted from citizens other than for availing social security benefits.

He said the recent notifications were issued in violation of the earlier order. Solicitor general Ranjit Kumar said the deadline of June 30 is for applying for Aadhaar card and not for possessing the card.

The Bench, however, said since the matter is pending before the Constitution Bench.