By 4:1 majority, SC dismisses pleas seeking review of 2018 of Aadhaar verdict

by IANS |

New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) The Supreme Court by 4:1 majority judgment dismissed a clutch of pleas seeking review of its 2018 verdict, which upheld the constitutional validity of Centre's flagship Aadhaar scheme.

A five-judge Constitution bench by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, dismissing the review pleas, said: "The present review petitions have been filed against the final judgment and order dated 26.09.2018. We have perused the review petitions as well as the grounds in support thereof. In our opinion, no case for review of judgment and order dated 26.09.2018 is made out."

In 2018, the top court upheld Aadhaar scheme, but struck down some of its provisions, which included its linking with bank accounts, mobile phones and school admissions.

"We hasten to add that change in the law or subsequent decision/judgment of a coordinate or larger Bench by itself cannot be regarded as a ground for review. The review petitions are accordingly dismissed", said the bench also comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, S. Abdul Nazeer and B. R. Gavai.

However, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, one of the five-judges on the bench, dissented with this majority verdict. "The present batch of review petitions should be kept pending until the larger bench decides the questions referred to it in Rojer Mathew", said Justice Chandrachud. He added that the constitutional principles of consistency and the rule of law would require that a decision on the review petitions should await the reference to the larger bench.

Justice Chandrachud added that these review petitions have continued to remain pending until now, and there is a strong reason for the court not to dismiss them pending the decision of the larger bench decides the question related to certification of a bill as a money bill.

The Aadhaar Bill was certified as a money bill, as a result the government got it cleared without getting the assent of a majority in the Rajya Sabha. Justice Chandrachud added that the correctness of Puttaswamy verdict ( 2018 verdict on Aadhar) on issues pertaining to, and arising from, the certification of a Bill as a 'Money Bill' by the Speaker of the House has been doubted by a co-ordinate Constitution bench in the Rojer Mathew case. "With the doubt expressed by another Constitution Bench on the correctness of the very decision which is the subject matter of these review petitions, it is a constitutional error to hold at this stage that no ground exists to review the judgment", he added.

Justice Chandrachud said these review petitions were filed before the judgment in Rojer Mathew case was delivered on 13 November 2019. "The review petitions were pending on the date when a reference was made to a larger bench in the Rojer Mathew (case)", added Justice Chandrachud.

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