Social Media and Aadhaar linkage: Supreme Court refuses to entertain fresh PIL

Social Media and Aadhaar linkage: Supreme Court refuses to entertain fresh PIL

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a fresh PIL seeking linkage of Aadhaar with social media profiles.

When the petition filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay was taken up by the Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant today, the Court observed that a similar matter is pending before the Madras High Court.

The Bench observed that while the matter is of an important nature, everything cannot come before the Supreme Court. Therefore, the petitioner should approach the concerned High Court. The Court thus expressed its inclination to dismiss the petition.

This prompted Upadhyay to seek liberty to withdraw the PIL. The request was granted by the Court, and the petitioner is now at liberty to move the High Court should he wish to pursue the matter.

A Bench headed by Justice Deepak Gupta is also hearing the petition filed by social media giants Facebook and WhatsApp seeking to transfer cases relating to social media accountability and Aadhaar linkage from various high courts to the Supreme Court.

In the previous hearing in the transfer petition, the Court had granted time to the Centre to place on record its affidavit laying down a timeline within which it aims to frame guidelines on the subject. The hearing is scheduled to take place next on October 22.

The Madras High Court is also hearing a number of petitions relating to social media misuse. The main case pertains to a PIL kept pending to navigate ways in which online crime may be curbed with the assistance of social media companiesThe matter was last adjourned to October 1.

In August, the Supreme Court issued notice in the plea filed by Facebook seeking to transfer various proceedings involving the social media giant from the high courts to the Apex Court. Among these cases are petitions involving prayers for linkage of of Aadhaar with social media profiles and concerns of traceability of the originator of messages on platforms such as WhatsApp.

Correction: The previous version of the report inadvertently mentioned Justice Aniruddha Bose as part of the Bench instead of Justice Surya Kant. The error is regretted. 

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