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SC rejects pleas seeking review of Aadhaar verdict

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  • Categories
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    22nd Jan, 2021

The Supreme Court has dismissed a batch of pleas seeking review of its 2018 Aadhaar verdict.

The 2018 Verdict

  • The verdict was given by five-judge Constitution bench headed by the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
  • It upheld the Centre’s flagship Aadhaarscheme as constitutionally valid.
  • However, it also struck down some of its provisions, including its linking with bank accounts, mobile phones and school admissions.
  • Aadhaar is mandatory for filing of Income Tax Return and allotment of permanent account number (PAN).
  • Aadhaar is also needed for availing facilities of welfare schemes and government subsidies.

What did the review petition argue?

  • The present review petitions have been filed against the final judgment and order of SC.
  • The petition challenged the correctness of the judgment on the ground that the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other subsidies, benefits and services) Act, 2016 was incorrectly certified as a Money Bill by the Speaker of Lok Sabha.
  • Certification of the bill as a money bill enabled the government to get it cleared without getting the assent of a majority in the Rajya Sabha.

Money Bills are defined in Article 110 of the Constitution: they refer to laws which ‘only’ deal with issues connected with taxation and the Consolidated Fund of India.

  • Since the Constitution uses the term “only”, the argument was that a law which dealt with other aspects – like the Aadhaar Act – could never have been designated as a Money Bill in the first place, meaning the whole Act had to be struck down as unconstitutional.

Justice D Y Chandrachud, who was part of the Bench had given a dissenting judgement in which he ruled the Aadhaar Act should not have been passed as Money Bill as it amounts to fraud on the Constitution and is liable to be struck down.

SC’s current stand on the petition

  • Four of the five judges on the bench passed the order rejecting the review petitions.
  • Justice D Y Chandrachud, one of the five judges on the bench, dissented with the majority order rejecting pleas seeking review of the verdict.
  • They argued that no grounds had been made out for a review of the original judgment.