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Rest of the cases related to Aadhaar will be back with the same 5-judge bench

The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud and S Abdul Nazeer on Tuesday (July 18) referred the section of the Aadhaar case which refers to privacy as a fundamental right, to a special nine-judge bench. This will be heard on Wednesday (July 19).

The bench also decided that the rest of the Aadhaar issues will go back to same five-judge bench.

On August 11 and on October 15, the issue was heard by the constitution bench. The bench on those days decided that until the issues in the pending case are decided, the use of Aadhaar card is not only purely voluntary, but can only be used on this voluntary basis for six government schemes, such as public distribution system, LPG, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Employees’ Provident Fund Organization, Pension scheme, and Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana.

It was also said that no one should be denied any services or benefits that they are rightfully entitled to for the lack of an Aadhaar card.

On Tuesday the bench sorted out the main issue within the Aadhaar related cases, and this was deciding on “whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right or not”.  That will be handled by the nine-judge bench.

The bench observed: “During course of hearing it seemed that it has become essential to decide whether there is any fundamental right to privacy under the Indian Constitution. There was a determination of this question by this court in the NP Sharma vs UoI case by an 8-judge bench, as well as in the Kharag Singh vs State of UP by a 6-judge bench. Both benches had said that there is no fundamental right involved. (However) We are of the view that this issue needs to be put before a 9-judge constitutional bench tomorrow (Wednesday).”

      —India Legal Bureau

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