The Supreme Court today disposed off a plea of an activist lawyer who was denied ‘tatkal’ passport on the ground of non-submission of Aadhaar, saying the issue has been settled as the government will now not seek the biometric identifier till the constitution bench decides the pleas against the scheme.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud disposed off the petition of lawyer Vrinda Grover who was denied a tatkal passport for her travel to Bangladesh to attend a conference as she had failed to submit her Aadhaar details.
“We are of the considered opinion that the issue raised in the instant petition shall be considered by the Constitution Bench while dealing with the issue pertaining to Aadhaar and, therefore, we are not inclined to keep this matter pending.
“Be it noted, the grievance of the petitioner has already been dealt with by the Constitution Bench. ...the writ petition stands disposed off,” the bench said.
In the last hearing, counsel for Grover had told the bench that denial of ‘tatkal’ passport for want of Aadhaar was a blatant violation of the apex court’s interim order, as the authorities were insisting on Aadhaar even before the then deadline of March 31.
A five-judge constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, while hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, had indefinitely extended the March 31 deadline it had set through its interim order on December 15 last year to link services to possession of the unique identity number.
The apex court had March 13 extended the March 31 deadline for linking Aadhaar to bank accounts and mobile phones and ordered that except for disbursing subsidies, the Centre and states cannot insist on Aadhaar for any service, including issuance of passports. The extension will be in place till the court delivers its final judgment.