Will Centre use coercive steps for Aadhaar, asks SC

Will Centre use coercive steps for Aadhaar, asks SC

The Union government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that all residents of the country who do not have Aadhaar number will get three more months’ time to seed it with their bank accounts, SIM  cards and for availing various welfare schemes.

The deadline for seeding would be extended from December 31 to March 31, 2018, for residents who do not have the 12-digit unique identification number. However, “those having Aadhaar would be required to seed it with SIM cards, bank accounts and other schemes,” a note circulated by the Union government stated.

The government, however, sought time till October 30 to clarify on the court’s query  whether any coercive action would be taken against those who do possess Aadhaar number but do not want to link it to their bank accounts and mobile numbers.

Attorney General K K Venugopal mentioned the matter before a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. He said all Aadhaar-related matters pending adjudication by the apex court must go to a five-judge Constitution bench for its “far reaching consequences”.

Senior advocates Shyam Divan, Anand Grover, Arvind Datar and Meenakshi Arore, representing a batch of PIL petitioners, questioned the government’s intent behind forcing people to seed Aadhaar number.

Divan contended that the government was violating the apex court’s order by forcing the people, including school children, to cite Aadhaar number for different purposes. “A student cannot appear in the examination and would not be issued examination hall ticket if she does not submit Aadhaar number. What is happening to civil liberties in the country,” he asked. Venugopal, however, maintained that no interim order was passed by the apex court after passage of the Aadhaar Act.

He also said that the government has taken a number of steps for data protection, including setting up a high-powered panel headed by former SC judge, Justice B N Srikrishna, to look into the issue. The law could be framed by February 2018, he said. His plea got support from the bench, which observed, “The people are struggling the world over with data protection.”

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)