Country turning into a totalitarian state: Lawyer on Aadhaar issue
Senior advocate Shyam Divan told a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar the ‘country was creeping towards becoming a concentration camp and a totalitarian state’.india Updated: Jul 07, 2017 20:56 IST
The advocate representing the petitioner in Aadhaar case lashed out at the government for turning the country into a “concentration camp,” even as the Supreme Court asked all parties involved to approach the Chief Justice of India with a request to set up a bench of seven or nine judges to settle the dispute.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan told a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar the “country was creeping towards becoming a concentration camp and a totalitarian state.”
“ …the policy to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of all welfare schemes invades upon the right to privacy of a citizen since birth as even minors are compelled to part with their biometrics,” he told the special bench that assembled to hear a petition challenging making Aadhaar mandatory for social welfare schemes despite an SC order in 2015 disallowing it.
Attorney General KK Venugopal took strong exception to Divan’s language and said the lawyer was unware of the benefits of Aadhaar. He said those living below the poverty line were beneficiaries of the scheme.
Unperturbed, Divan argued vehemently and said he would keep repeating the word “totalitarian.”
The bench, however, said the court must decide the matter where the validity of Aadhaar is under challenge on the ground it violates an individual’s privacy.
“My opinion is that once a matter has been referred to a constitution bench, then all the issues arising out of it should be with the constitution bench. Don’t you think the matter should be settled for all times to come,” the bench told the counsel.
Venugopal agreed with the suggestion and said an early date should be given to hear the matter.
During the hearing, the bench said it was also pained to know that after the matter was referred to a constitution bench, smaller benches were taking up issues relating to Aadhaar time and again and were also passing orders.
Recently, another SC bench had upheld the government’s decision to link Aadhaar with PAN cards and also make it mandatory while filing IT returns. However, in a partial relief the court restrained the IT department from taking action against those who did not have Aadhaar.