SC tells NRI to approach Constitution Bench on Aadhaar linking
New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday directed an NRI to approach the Constitution Bench, scheduled to hear a challenge to Aadhaar validity, regarding his challenge to amendments in rules against money laundering to facilitate linking of bank accounts with Aadhaar numbers.
A bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan asked Non-Resident Indian Femin Panikkassery Subramanyan to approach the Constitution Bench that will hear a batch of petitions in the last week of November.
Subramanyan, a Kerala native residing in Dubai for two decades, said amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Rules that mandated linking of bank accounts with Aadhaar numbers violated his fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Constitution.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud had, on October 30, said that the hearing on the petitions against Aadhaar will take place in the last week of November.
These include pleas by former Karnataka High Court Judge K.S. Puttaswamy, Magsaysay awardee Shanta Sinha, and feminist researcher Kalyani Sen Menon, who questioned Aadhaar validity on several counts, principally on the ground of its being violative of the fundamental right to privacy.
Challenging mandatory linking of bank accounts with Aadhaar, Subramanyan pointed to the immense contribution that NRIs make to the Indian economy through remittances.
The petitioner said Aadhaar was applicable to individuals who reside in India for 182 days prior to applying for the unique identification number.
He contended that by this criterion, Aadhaar was not applicable to NRIs, People of Indian Origin or any other class of expatriates. He said Aadhaar was not citizen- centric.
"The Aadhaar Act, as it stands today, does not permit Aadhaar enrolment of an NRI, PIO or any other class of Indian expatriates. It is the specific case of the petitioner that the present amendment has created untold miseries to the millions of expatriates, including the petitioner", his plea said.
He said his financial base has been "wrecked owing to the whims and vagaries of some Tughlaq-ian administrators".
He said 16 million-strong Indian diaspora's contribution to the country's economy in 2015 was $72 billion, that is, 4 per cent of the country's GDP in that year. It was more than 12 per cent of the world's remittances in 2015.