#Aadhaar: AG KK Venugopal objects to Shyam Divan’s concentration camp argument

#Aadhaar: AG KK Venugopal objects to Shyam Divan’s concentration camp argument

Murali Krishnan

The Aadhaar hearing in Supreme Court turned out to be an eventful one yet again, with the central government joining issue with the petitioner in seeking an early hearing in the case.

The matter was heard by a Bench of Justices Jasti Chelameswar, AM Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha. Senior Advocate Shyam Divan appeared for the petitioner, while Attorney General KK Venugopal represented the central government.

Divan apprised the Bench of the background of the case including the two interim orders passed in 2015 by Constitution Bench of Supreme Court.

“Because Your Lordships orders clearly state that Aadhaar can be used only for X, Y and Z and nothing more, the Union government cannot mandate Aadhaar without getting a modification of those orders”, argued Divan.

Divan also submitted that the Centre was trying to turn India into a concentration camp by tagging and tracking every individual through Aadhaar.

The Bench then had a discussion and stated that it was of the opinion that the case should be disposed of once and for all.

“We believe the matter should be heard and disposed of once and for all. So make a mention before CJI to constitute a Constitution Bench for early hearing”, said Justice Chelameswar.

Attorney General KK Venugopal also agreed to the same and stated that the “Centre is prepared to join issue with the petitioner for seeking early hearing”.

Venugopal, however, proceeded to object to the “concentration camp” submissions by Divan.

“We object to it. Aadhaar has benefited a lot of people. If you are making such submissions why should we join issue with you to seek early hearing?”, asked Venugopal.

Divan, however, responded by stating that,

“I am reiterating my concentration camp submission. I have stated it in my pleadings too”.

The Bench told the Attorney General that it cannot stop an advocate from making an argument as long as it is not unparliamentary.

The Bench then proceeded to rise. The parties are likely to mention the matter before the CJI with a view to forming a Constitution Bench for early hearing of the case.

The Bench also allowed the petitioner to come back before the 3-judge Bench for interim relief in case the CJI turns down the request for early hearing.

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