SC pulls up WB govt for its plea against Aadhaar rules by centre

SC pulls up WB govt for its plea against Aadhaar rules by centre

In a embarrassment to the West Bengal government led by Mamata Bannerjee, the Supreme Court on Monday expressed its displeasure over plea against central government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes.

A bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan questioned the counsel Kapil Sibal as to why the state and not an indiviual did not file this petition. The bench also pointed out that petition has been filed under Article 32 which is meant for individuals/citizens.

“How can the State of West Bengal come here directly? Let Mamata Bannerjee come and file a petition as a citizen,” a Bench of A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said.

The State had filed a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution. The specific Article can only be used by individual citizens to approach the Supreme Court against state actions which violate their fundamental rights. Article 32 cannot be agitated by a State against the Centre.

“How can a State challenge a law passed by the Centre? Tomorrow the Centre will come against laws by the States,” Justice Sikri addressed Kapil Sibal, senior advocate for West Bengal.

The Bench expressed its annoyance, observing “let an individual come to us… Mr. Sibal, you know this… you are more mature than us”.

Mr. Sibal agreed with the court’s suggestion to amend the petition.

The court meanwhile issued notice on petitions filed by advocate Raghav Tankha seeking a direction to the Department of Telecom and to mobile service providers to cease from misinforming the public that Aadhaar is the sole means for identity and address proof for e-KYC procedure for mobile phone users.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in the morning agreed to the Centre’s plea to hear the government later in the day on the question whether linking of bank accounts and mobile phones with Aadhaar would be made voluntary till March 31.

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