New Delhi: Observing that a detailed hearing by an appropriate bench is required, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to pass an interim order at this stage staying various notifications issued under the Aadhaar Act to make unique identity number mandatory for several social welfare schemes. A vacation bench of Justices A. M. Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha took note of submissions of attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi strongly opposing any interim order and referred the petitions to Chief Justice J.S. Khehar for hearing by an appropriate bench. The bench said that the court would not want to deal with the issue in piecemeal and would examine all applications against Aadhaar on June 27. “It is appropriate if we hear all interlocutory applications together as they may invo-lve same or similar issues,” the bench said. The petitions were filed by Shantha Sinha and others challenging the various notifications issued by the Centre insisting on Aadhaar card before June 30 for availing various benefits, including scholarships, admission, domestic air travel, mobile phone, etc.
Strongly opposing the petition, Mr Rohatgi made it clear that the government was not going to extend the deadline of June 30 by which various schemes such as grant of scholarships, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and various other social welfare schemes were to seek mandatory Aadhaar number.
“Today, we have 120 crore people who have Aadhaar cards, but they are not here. The people who are supposed to be benefited by these schemes are not before the court but those who are not going to be affected at all, keep on filing petitions after apex court did not grant any interim relief. Can they go on filing petitions after petitions which have even the same text? This is abuse of the process of the court,” he said.
Senior counsel Shyam Divan, appearing for the petitioners, drew the court’s attention to a series of notifications issued by various ministries and authorities making it compulsory for citizens to have Aadhaar card by June 30 failing which benefits will not be extended. He said these include notifications making Aadhaar mandatory for hot cooked meals, several scholarships for disabled students, etc.