Apex court pulls up Bengal govt over Aadhaar

PTI New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018

‘Mamata can file a plea in the court as an individual’

The West Bengal government was today pulled up by the Supreme Court, which wondered how a State can challenge Parliament’s mandate and question the Centre’s move to make the Aadhaar card mandatory for receiving the benefits of social welfare schemes.

The apex court said under the federal structure an individual can file such a plea but not a State government.

“How can state file such a plea? In a federal structure, how can a state file a plea challenging Parliament’s mandate,” a Bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan wondered at the outset.

“It can be challenged by individuals, but how a state has come (to court)? It cannot be done,” the bench said, adding, “let Mamata Banerjee come and file a plea as individual. We will entertain it as she will be an individual”.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the West Bengal government, told the Bench that the plea has been filed by the Labour Department of the State as subsidies under these welfare schemes have to be given by them.

Responding to his contention, the Bench said, “You satisfy us how the State has challenged it. We know it is a matter which needs consideration.”

Sibal, however, insisted that the State was entitled to filing such a plea as subsidies under these schemes have to be given by the Labour Department.

“If it is so, tomorrow the Centre will file a petition challenging the States’ Act,” the Bench observed.

When the Bench referred to the prayer made for relief, Sibal said, “We will amend the relief sought. We are entitled to file it”.

Published on October 30, 2017

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