On 25th October, Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, had made a big hue and cry about linking her telephone number to Aadhaar as mandated by the Central Government.
Banerjee had said, “Under no circumstances will I link my Aadhaar with my telephone number. If the authorities disconnect my phone, let them do it. It will actually save me a lot of trouble as I won’t have to go through a number of text messages, I would urge you to protest in a similar manner. How many telephone connections will they disconnect?”
Meanwhile, the Bengal Government’s plea against making Aadhaar mandatory for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes was taken up by the Supreme Court today, in which, the Bengal Government, and Mamata Banerjee in particular, were taken to task by the bench comprising of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.
Kapil Sibal of the Congress party was representing the Mamata Banerjee led state government in its plea. Sibal informed the court that this plea was filed by the labour department of the state as subsidies under this scheme were to be given by them. The Supreme Court took a stern view that in a federal structure, state governments cant file pleas challenging the Parliament’s mandate and that Mamata Banerjee should file a petition as an individual.
Kapil Sibal then said that the state could file a plea and that they would amend the prayer in the plea.
The apex court was hearing two petitions today – one by the West Bengal government challenging mandatory linking of Aadhaar to various schemes and another challenging its mandatory linking with mobile numbers.
In the second matter challenging linking of Aadhaar to mobile phones, the Apex court has issued a notice to the Centre and asked for a response within 4 weeks.
The Central Government told the Supreme Court earlier this week that it would extend the deadline to link Aadhaar with government welfare schemes to March 2018.