The Centre’s ambitious Aadhaar scheme, which is aimed at providing a unique identity number to citizens, has come under judicial scrutiny.
The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre on a public interest litigation (PIL) that challenged the implementation of the scheme that has been apparently implemented without any legislative approval.
Filed by a retired Karnataka High Court judge Justice KS Puttaswamy, the PIL questions the government’s decision to issue Aadhaar numbers to citizens while the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010, is pending before the Rajya Sabha.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J Chelameswar issued notice to the union finance ministry, planning commission and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)— which is set up to implement the Aadhaar scheme— seeking their replies on the contention that Parliament was “circumvented” in implementation of the scheme.
According to the PIL the bill is still pending before the Rajya Sabha where it was introduced on December 3, 2010. The bill, for the purpose of giving legal backing to the scheme, was referred by the Rajya Sabha to the standing committee (finance) which had rejected it by overwhelming majority on December 11, 2011, the PIL contends.
Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Anil Diwan argued the scheme did not get a Parliament nod but was the executive’s scheme.
Get cracking, PMO tells babus
Determined to set the direct cash scheme rolling from January 1, the Prime Minister’s Office has directed senior civil servants to get cracking on the ambitious programme. In a letter to nine secretaries handling departments that provide cash benefits, principal secretary to the PM Pulok Chatterjee told them to get working on the “task of operationalising direct cash transfers”. HTC
BJP petitions EC against scheme
BJP leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley petitioned the Election Commission (EC) against the cash transfer scheme announcement Friday, citing it as a corrupt poll practice when Gujarat was going to polls. “The EC has assured us that the issues raised by us
will be taken care of...” Advani said. HTC
NDA speaks in different voices
Different voices are emerging from within the NDA over the cash transfer scheme. While Bihar CM Nitish Kumar had described the scheme as “good” and wanted it to be extended to food and fertiliser subsidies, Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh in a letter to the PM had said his state would not make it applicable to the PDS. HTC