Several petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Unique Identity programme Aadhaar are pending in the Supreme Court.
There is “no question” of extending the June 30 deadline for making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of various social welfare schemes, the centre today told the Supreme Court.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the top court that the idea behind making Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes was that the benefit should not go to “ghosts” as was noticed in schemes like the public distribution system (PDS).
He also raised preliminary objection to the plea seeking interim relief and challenging various notifications issued by the centre and told a bench, comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha, that this matter should be listed for hearing before a five-judge constitution bench.
Mr Rohatgi said that earlier, some pleas seeking identical interim reliefs were also filed and those matters were pending before the top court.
The bench said it would be appropriate to hear all these pleas seeking interim relief together to “avoid multiplicity” and fixed the matter for hearing on June 27.
When the bench was considering whether to list the matter for hearing during the summer vacation, senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the petitioner, said there was urgency involved in it and if the matter was not heard before June 30, “the other way was if they (centre) extend the deadline”. “There is no question of that,” Mr Rohatgi said.
Several petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar are pending in the top court and would be heard by a five-judge constitution bench, which is yet to be set up by the Chief Justice.
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 top court, however, had allowed the Centre to seek Aadhaar card voluntarily from citizens for extending benefits of schemes like LPG subsidy, Jan Dhan scheme and Public Distribution System.