Supreme Court came down strongly on Mamata Banerjee on Aadhar linking matter. WB Chief Minister who is an outright critic of center’s policies (any and every policy) and never misses any opportunity to criticize the government faced a humiliating defeat in Supreme Court in the Aadhar matter. Supreme Court criticized WB govt plea in the harshest words possible. Justice A.K Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan said, “On what grounds have they challenged law duly passed by the parliament?”
WB Govt had filed a plea in Supreme Court challenging centre’s policy to make Aadhar linking mandatory.
WB Govt was represented by Advocate Kapil Sibal who explained the validity of petition. Sibal said there was nothing wrong in a state challenging centre’s decision but failed to convince the bench. The bench asked – what if tomorrow centre challenges the validity of sate’s legislations? The Bench asked WB government to amend the petition. Sensing the mood of the court Sibal agreed to modify the petition.
Supreme Court also further notified that its impermissible for a state govt to challenge a law duly passed by the parliament. In a federal structure state cannot challenge a law enacted by parliament under Article 32. Article 32 is a provision in the constitution where in an individual can challenge a law enacted by centre. But this right is not bestowed upon state governments.
Supreme Court further asked Mamata Banerjee to file petition individually if she wanted. Hearing the SC’s decision, Trinamool Congress’s MLA and Party General Secretary Mohua Mitra filed a writ petition as a private citizen against the instructions issued by banks to all their account holders asking them to link their Aadhar Cards with their respective accounts until 31st December, failing which would lead to freezing of the accounts. Mitra also sought relief for new account holders from linking their Aadhar number to their bank accounts.
The Supreme Court’s snub is yet another setback for Mamata Banerjee and her fierce opposition to Aadhar. She has been repeatedly issuing absurd statements like “I will deactivate my phone but won’t link it with Aadhar”. Mamata termed this decision of centre as the ‘dirty’ political game of BJP and the WB govt asked the fellow citizens not to obey the centre’s directives. She also termed the decision as exploitation of people’s privacy and that the government had no right to peep into a citizen’s private details.
Meanwhile Supreme Court has issued notice to Center pertaining to a complaint filed by an individual citizen, Raghav Tankha against mandatory linking to Aadhar number to mobile phones and has asked centre to give reply within 4 weeks. WB Govt had also challenged the decision of centre wherein it was made mandatory to link Aadhar to enjoy Government’s Social Welfare policies.
Centre replied saying that they have extended the deadline of linking Aadhar until 31st March 2018 for those who do not have Aadhar yet. After the SC’s Judgement Mamata said that SC had not rejected her petition and that she respects its decision. Words of Wisdom for sure.
Centre says that linking of Aadhar is a must for procuring various government services, filing returns, tax invoices, mobile phone numbers and other financial transactions. Millions of Indians have already linked their 12 digit Aadhar number as directed by centre. The Individual Activist who filed a petition in the court said that this is a hasty decision which has left many poor beneficiaries devoid of government’s policies such as ration.
The Centre however has asked state governments to ensure that no one is deprived of food. But Center’s tough stand on mainstreaming Aadhar has invited many petitions in the court against the decision. If the SC hears the pleas of the individuals and gives the judgement in their favour it can be seen as partial victory for the WB Chief Minister, till then she has to follow the centre’s notifications on the same. Till then the game is lost for Mamata Banerjee who often is targeted by her critics for making West Bengal, a safe haven for Illegal Bangladeshi Migrants who cross over the border and are allegedly legitimized by the WB Government.
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