New Delhi [India], January 20 (ANI): The Supreme Court has dismissed petitions seeking a review of the court's 2018 majority verdict upholding the Aadhaar scheme.
A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice AM Khanwilkar by the majority of 4:1 rejected the pleas seeking review of its 2018 judgment, which upheld the constitutionality of the Aadhaar Scheme. Other judges in the Bench were Justices DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S Abdul Nazeer, BR Gavai.
The majority verdict stated, "The present review petitions have been filed against the final judgment and order dated September 26, 2018. We have perused the review petitions as well as the grounds in support thereof. In our opinion, no case for review of judgment and order dated September 26, 2018, is made out. We hasten to add that change in the law or subsequent decision/judgment of a coordinate or larger Bench by itself cannot be regarded as a ground for review. The review petitions are accordingly dismissed. Consequently, prayer for urging additional grounds in Review Petition stands rejected."Justice Chandrachud, one of the five judges of the bench, dissented with the majority verdict and said that the review petitions be kept pending until a larger bench decides the question related to certification of a bill as a money bill.
"If these review petitions are to be dismissed and the larger bench reference in Rojer Mathew were to disagree with the analysis of the majority opinion in Puttaswamy (Aadhaar judgment), it would have serious consequences - not just for judicial discipline, but also for the ends of justice. As such, the present batch of review petitions should be kept pending until the larger bench decides the questions referred to it in Rojer Mathew. In all humility, I conclude that the constitutional principles of consistency and the rule of law would require that a decision on the Review Petitions should await the reference to the Larger Bench," Justice Chandrachud said in his dissenting order.
The Aadhaar Bill was certified as a money bill which enabled the government to get it cleared without getting the assent of a majority in Rajya Sabha.
The Aadhaar scheme is primarily aimed at improving the delivery of social security benefits and subsidies, plugging leakages and wastes, eliminating fakes and duplicates and enhancing transparency and accountability.
The review petitions which were decided in the chamber by the Bench also include the one filed by Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh.
In 2018 the Constitution Bench of the apex court by its majority view had held Aadhaar Scheme as a reasonable restriction on individual privacy to fulfill the government's "legitimate aim" to provide dignity to the poor.
The majority view held by the top court had declared Aadhaar an "unparalleled" identity proof that could not be duplicated unlike PAN, ration card, and passport.
Justice Chandrachud in 2018 had called Aadhaar "unconstitutional" in his dissent order.
Ramesh's review petition has highlighted the passage of the Aadhaar Act as a Money Bill by superseding the Rajya Sabha, saying this was a "fraud on the Constitution".
Another review petition has highlighted how the Aadhaar programme had already become an "instrument of transfer of sensitive personal data belonging to the citizens of this country into foreign entities, which acted as Biometric Service Providers, even before the Act came into existence". (ANI)