The Supreme Court has questioned West Bengal government’s plea opposing Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes. Questioning the locus of state government, the court sought to know if it could challenge the decision which has a backing of Parliament.
“In a federal structure, how can a state file plea challenging Parliament’s mandate,” the Supreme Court bench asked West Bengal government counsel.
“We know it is a matter which needs consideration but you satisfy us how state can challenge it,” the bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan added.
On the related issue, the Supreme Court issued notice to the Centre on a separate plea challenging linking of mobile phone numbers with Aadhaar. The court has sought Centre’s reply within four weeks.
Earlier last week, the Centre had told the top court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail benefits of various government schemes has been extended till March 31 next year for those who do not have the 12-digit biometric identification number.
Attorney General KK Venugopal had told a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that the deadline extension from December end till March 31, 2018, would apply only to those who do not have Aadhaar and are willing to enrol for it.
The matter was posted for further hearing on Monday.
Several petitions, challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes and notifications to link it with mobile numbers and bank accounts, are pending in the apex court.
(With inputs from PTI)