Five-Judge Constitution Bench To Hear Aadhaar Petitions On July 18,19 : SC

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K K Venugopal, Attorney General of India, said that a nine judge Bench, not a 5 judge Bench, must hear the case as an 8 judge Bench had earlier ruled that right to privacy was not a fundamental right.

The matter was mentioned before a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud, as on July 7, a three-judge bench had said that all issues arising out of Aadhaar should finally be decided by a larger bench, preferably comprising more than five-judges.

Fundamental right of identity and various e-governance initiatives of the government to provide food security, livelihood, jobs and health to the teeming masses can not be sacrificed at the altar of right to privacy of an elite few who have neither applied for nor want Aadhaar, it had contended.

The court agreed and listed the matter for July 18.

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The setting of the Constitution bench was pending since 2015.

Hence, Mr. Venugopal suggested that it has to be first decided whether the petitions should be referred to a Bench of nine judges for hearing and decision.

The Narendra Modi government's move to link Aadhaar with various welfare schemes has been challenged by a group of social activists. Hence a five judge bench can not hear the matter, he also said.

A vacation bench of Supreme Court refused to pass an interim order against Centre's notification making Aadhaar compulsory in order to avail social schemes and welfare benefits. It said about 115 crore people had already been issued Aadhaar card and by this method lakhs of fake ration cardholders had been eliminated and Rs. 56,000 crore had been saved.

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