National

Tracing The 6 Years & 38 Hearings Of Supreme Court's 2nd Longest Case: Aadhaar Validity

ANANYA BHATNAGAR | 1
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| September 26 , 2018 , 10:21 IST

The Supreme Court on Wednesday will announce the verdict on the constitutional validity of Aadhar. A five-judge constitutional bench will be giving the verdict in the second longest case in the Supreme Court.

The challenge in the Supreme Court began in 2012, when the first petition was filed by former Karnataka High Court judge Justice KS Puttaswamy. Since then, several petitions challenging various aspects of the scheme have come up before the Court.

The hearing in the case concluded on May 10 this year after 38 days if hearing and a time span of about 6 years.

The judgment will be pronounced by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra along with  Justice AK Sikri, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice  DY Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan.

The Timeline of Aadhar

2009: Unique Identification Authority of India was established after the Planning Commission in December. The UIDAI’s motive was to issue unique ID  number to each citizen

2010: Former Judge of Karnataka High Court, Justice KS Puttaswamy alleging that the Aadhar scheme violates the privacy of the people and has no legal framework to defend it.

2013 September: Supreme Court passes an interim order stating, “In the meanwhile, no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card in spite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory and when any person applies to get the Aadhaar Card voluntarily, it may be checked whether that person is entitled for it under the law and it should not be given to any illegal immigrant.”

2013 October: The court dismisses centre’s request to modify the court’s interim order saying that Aadhaar was not mandatory for essential services.

2013 November: Fresh petitions filed before the Supreme Court against RBI’s and Election Commission’s decisions to make Aadhaar sole proof of identity for opening bank accounts and for voter registration respectively.

2014 March:

  1. The Supreme Court directs the Centre to withdraw all its notifications which made Aadhaar mandatory for availing welfare benefits under social security schemes.
  2. The Court also restrains UIDAI from sharing the biometric details of an Aadhaar card holder with any agency or individual without the express consent of the cardholder. This order was passed with reference to an order passed by a lower Court in Goa directing UIDAI to share biometric details with the CBI to solve a rape case.

2015 August: A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices J Chelameswar, SA Bobde, and C Nagappan refers the question of whether Right to Privacy is a fundamental right to a Constitution Bench.

2015 September: Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) knock the doors of the  apex Court for clarification over an order passed by the Court.

2015 October: The bench said that any further plea with respect to Aadhaar will be heard by the Constitution Bench.

2016 March: Lok Sabha passes the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 as a Money Bill, giving legislative backing to the UIDAI/Aadhaar scheme. A senior congress leader later that year moved the SC challenging the manner in which the bill is passed.

June 2017: A two judge bench of the SC reads down the provison to Section 139AA(2) and rules that those who do not have Aadhaar will not be required to obtain the same for linking it with PAN. However, those who have obtained Aadhaar will have to link it with PAN for filing Income Tax Returns.

July 2017: On July 19, the nine-Judge Bench headed by then Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and comprising of Justice J Chelameswar, Justice SA Bobde, Justice RK Agrawal, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice S A Nazeer begin hearing the case on right to privacy.

August 2017: The nine judge bench of Supreme Court in a historic judgment directed that the right to privacy is a fundamental right

October 2017: Various activist move to the SC after government makes Aadhar compulsory in various schemes.

November 2017: The Centre pleads the SC to set up a constitutional bench of the SC to decide on the validity of the Aadhaar

 December 2017: A three-Judge Bench of SC seeks the Centre’s response in the petition filed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh over the decision to treat Aadhaar Bill as a Money Bill.

January 2018: CJI Dipak Misra decides to set up five judge constitutional bench to examine the validity of Aadhar. The bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also included Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, and Ashok Bhushan.

Feburary 2018: Supreme Court refuses to extend the deadline for Aadhaar linkage beyond March 31, 2018.

March 2018: Representing the Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal submits that Aadhaar data is stored behind 13 feet high and 5 feet wide walls in servers maintained by the Central Identities Data Repository.  Supreme Court extends the deadline indefinitely for Aadhaar linkage with mobile numbers and new bank accounts till the final judgment of the Court. The deadline for linkage for availing subsidies and welfare schemes was however was not extended.

April 2018: UIDAI submits, the failure rate of IRIS scan is 8.54 percent while that of the fingerprint is 6 percent. The apex Court clarified it never directed for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with mobile numbers and that the ‘order’ passed in February 2017 was not an order, but a recording of submissions of then AG Mukul Rohatgi, which was misinterpreted by the Centre as an order.

May 2018: The government says Aadhaar is not mandatory for purchase of new SIM cards after the Supreme Court clarifies it never directed for the same to be made mandatory. Centre directs telecom service providers to start accepting alternative documents.

On May 10, the arguments and submissions in the Aadhaar case conclude and the Supreme Court reserves its verdict in what was the second longest hearing before the Supreme Court.