Mamata Says Will ‘Obey’ SC Call to File Aadhaar Plea as Individual

The SC said that WB’s plea against Centre’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory was against the federal structure.

2 min read
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said she will "obey" the directive of the Supreme Court, which questioned the state government's move to challenge a central law, linking Aadhaar to social benefits, and said she could file a plea in individual capacity.

"They (judges) have given their directive and we will obey that. I don't think there is any problem. We appreciate it," Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.

The apex court had earlier questioned the West Bengal government's petition challenging the Centre's decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of government welfare schemes, saying it was against the federal structure.

The court asked the West Bengal counsel to amend its prayer, and submit a fresh plea. It also said Banerjee could submit a plea before it as an individual.

How can state file such a plea? In a federal structure, how can a state file a plea challenging Parliament’s mandate.
Bench comprising justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan

The Chief Minister said that her government had gone to the court because it had "some grounds. "We had some grounds. We accept the court's observation. There is no problem. Some individuals have already applied," she said.

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 state's 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".

Several petitions challenging the Centre's move to make Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes and notifications to link it with mobile numbers and bank accounts, are pending in the apex court.

The West Bengal government challenged the provision, which says that without Aadhaar, the benefits of social welfare schemes would not be extended.

Banerjee had earlier said she will not link her mobile phone number with Aadhaar and had dared the Centre to disconnect it.

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