SC highlights: Aadhaar a switch by which the State can cause civil death of a citizen, says petitioner
A five-judge bench, which will look into the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act and its 2013 judgement re-criminalising gay sex between consenting adults, will commence hearing today. Follow the live updates here.india Updated: Jan 17, 2018 23:21 IST
A constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday sought to know whether there is anything wrong using Aadhaar to increase the efficiency of government welfare schemes. The petitioners opposing Aadhaar said the National Democratic Alliance’s government’s ambitious biometric-driven “project sought to tether every resident of India to an electronic leash.”
The spotlight was on an unprecedented crisis in India’s top judiciary following the public criticism of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra by four senior judges.
Amid the rift, the Supreme Court on Monday announced the setting up of a five-judge constitution bench headed by the CJI, which does not include the dissenting judges.
Below are the highlights:
1.12pm: The State has been handed over a “switch by which it can cause the civil death of a citizen”: Petitioners against Aadhaar
1.10pm: Petitioners submission in Aadhaar case before the Supreme Court: Aadhaar diminishes the status of a citizen vis-a-vis the state. The Constitution repudiates Aadhaar law. The Constitution protects citizens from advent of an all-intrusive state that recognises an individual as a number.
11:46am: The five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and four other judges --- Justices AM Khanwilkar, Adarsh Kumar Sikri, DYChandrachud and Ashok Bhushan --- hearing the constitutional validity of Aadhaar.
11:40am: The other issues to be dealt with by constitution bench include the pleas, which have raised a question as to when will a lawmaker, facing criminal trial, stand disqualified. All these matters were earlier referred to larger benches for adjudication by different benches of the apex court.
11:37am: This bench will also hear the contentious issue of the ban on the entry of women between 10 and 50 years of age in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple and resume hearing a legal query on whether a Parsi woman would lose her religious identity if she marries a man from a different religion.
11:35am: As per official information, the bench will commence hearing crucial matters from January 17, according to news agency PTI. The five-judge bench will hear major cases such as those challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act and its 2013 judgement re-criminalising gay sex between consenting adults.
The same combination of judges had last year heard various constitution bench matters from October 10, including the power tussle between the Centre and the Delhi government over administrative jurisdiction and a matter relating to passive euthanasia
Focus on SC crisis
As the Supreme Court crisis continues, the outcome of the deliberations is not known. News agency PTI quoted unnamed sources as saying that “nothing concrete has emerged”. Some of the judges, lower in the apex court hierarchy, are in favour of some rapprochement at the earliest on the grounds that the reputation of the judiciary is at stake.
A resolution and some administrative changes in the Supreme Court that address the grievances of the four judges, are imminent, said a person familiar with the matter. The five judges will meet again on Wednesday, this person added.
On Friday, Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph --- four senior-most judges in the apex court after the CJI --- held an extraordinary press conference where they publicly criticised the Chief Justice of India over allocation of cases and constitution of benches. The judges complained publicly that “administration of Supreme Court is not in order and there have been things less than desirable that have happened in the court”.
After the media conference by the four judges, there have been efforts by sitting judges and some others to mediate a solution to the crisis. Bar Council of India, the apex regulatory body for advocates in the country, set up a seven-member delegation that met the CJI Misra and 14 other judges of the top court on Sunday. The Supreme Court Bar Association too pitched in with efforts and its president Vikas Singh met the Chief Justice of India and other judges.
(with agency inputs)