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Supreme Court to hear plea challenging Aadhaar notifications on May 17

New delhi : The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear on May 17 a plea challenging various government notifications to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of government schemes.

A five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, which is currently hearing a batch of petitions challenging the practice of triple talaq, agreed to the contention of senior advocate Shyam Divan that the Aadhaar matter is very important and needs to be heard on an urgent basis.

“Despite the order of this court that Aadhaar will be voluntary and not mandatory, the government has been coming out with a series of notifications, making it mandatory to avail benefits of schemes like scholarships, Right to Food and mid-day meal in schools,” Mr. Divan, appearing for former chairperson of National Commission For Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Shanta Sinha, one of the petitioners in the Aadhaar matter, said.

He said a two-judge Bench should hear the applications against making Aadhaar mandatory for various schemes.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar contested the submission, saying even interim orders in Aadhaar matter have been passed by a five-judge Bench and hence it would not be appropriate to list the plea before a two-judge Bench.

The petitioner had not informed the court that after passing of various orders by the Supreme Court making Aadhaar voluntary, the Central government had come out with new legislation, he said.

Several petitions, challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar are pending in the apex court and would be heard by a Constitution Bench, which is yet to be set up by the Chief Justice of India.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had passed a slew of orders asking the government and its agencies not to make Aadhaar mandatory for extending benefits of their welfare schemes.

The apex court, however, had allowed the Centre to seek Aadhaar card voluntarily from citizens fro extending benefits of schemes like LPG subsidy, Jan Dhan scheme and Public Distribution System etc.

PTI