- Centre wants cellphones to be linked with Aadhaar by February
- Challenged in Supreme Court, Mamata Banerjee also objected to it
- Judges ask centre to explain in four weeks why this is necessary
Ms Banerjee last week said that she would refuse to couple her mobile phone connection with her Aadhaar, even if that meant she would lose her cellphone service. Telecoms have been told that they must verify their customers against their Aadhaar, and all future phone connections must not be issued without an Aadhaar check, which has been objected to in the top court.
On Friday last, Ms Banerjee took the centre to court, stating that any move to make Aadhaar necessary to collect benefits of welfare schemes violates the right to privacy.
"In a federal structure, how can a state file a plea challenging parliament's mandate," the judges responded today. "We know it is a matter that needs consideration but you satisfy us how a state can challenge it."
But the government and advocates of Aadhaar point out that it is essential to streamlining the payment of benefits and cutting out massive wastage and fraud along with increasing transparency. They also say that Aadhaar's widespread use will increase the sparse base of taxpayers.
In August, the Supreme Court ruled that privacy is a fundamental right; while those fighting Aadhaar welcomed the move, the government stressed that the right to privacy comes with reasonable restrictions, which should include Aadhaar.