Validity of Aadhaar Scheme Challenged: SC to hear batch of petitions

A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court would commence today the hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the Aadhaar scheme and the aspect of right to privacy attached to it.

The Constitution bench would comprise Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud and S Abdul Nazeer.

The apex court had agreed to set up a bench on July 12 to deal with the Aadhaar-related matters after Attorney General K K Venugopal and senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for petitioners who have challenged the government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for various public welfare schemes, had jointly mentioned the matters.

At first, the five-judge Bench will have to determine whether it can hear the matter or refer the same to a larger bench of nine judges. At the core of the Aadhaar debate rests the question whether citizens have a right to privacy.

The Centre had disputed the same citing an eight-judge Bench decision of apex court (1954 MP Sharma case) who held that right to privacy was not a fundamental right under Constitution. Later decisions by the judges sitting in combination of three and five, without discussing the 8-judge decision, held right to privacy as a fundamental right under Article 21.

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