In a 4:1 verdict, Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the batch of petitions seeking review of its 2018 verdict which declared the Aadhaar Act constitutional and valid with striking down some of its provisions including linking it to bank accounts, mobile phones, and school admissions.
The matter was heard by a five judge-bench comprising A M Khanwilkar, Ashok Bhushan, S Abdul Nazeer, B R Gavai, and Justice D Y Chandrachud. By 4-1, the constitution bench upheld the 2018 verdict while D Y Chandrachud dissented with the majority verdict and said that the review petition should be kept pending until the issue of the validity of Aadhaar Bill certification as a money bill had been settled by a larger constitution bench.
In the 2018 judgment also, it was Justice Chandrachud who disagreed with the other four judges declaring the Centre’s Flagship Aadhaar scheme unconstitutional.
Justice Chadrachud in his 12-page judgment stated that the majority opinion about whether the Aadhaar Act was a money bill has been doubted by the coordinate bench and the matter had been referred to the larger bench.
“The correctness of Puttaswamy (Aadhaar case) on issues pertaining to, and arising from, the certification of a Bill as a ‘money bill’ by the Speaker of the House of People has been doubted by a coordinate Constitution bench in the Rojer Mathew case. With the doubt expressed by another Constitution Bench on the correctness of the very decision, which is the subject matter of these review petitions, it is a constitutional error to hold at this stage that no ground exists to review the judgment. The larger bench’s determination would have an undeniable impact on the validity of the reasons expressed in Puttaswamy on the constitutional issues pertaining to and arising out of the certification by the Speaker of the House of People,” said Justice Chandrachud.
He further added, “If these review petitions are to be dismissed and the larger ..If these review petitions are to be dismissed and the larger bench reference in Rojer Mathew were to disagree with the analysis of the majority opinion in Puttaswamy, it would have serious consequences – not just for judicial discipline, but also for the ends of justice. As such, the present batch of review petitions should be kept pending until the larger bench decides the questions referred to it in Rojer Mathew. In all humility, I conclude that the constitutional principles of consistency and the rule of law would require that a decision on the review petitions should await the reference to the larger bench.”
On the other hand, the other four judges stated that no case was made out to re-examine the 2018 verdict and declared it constitutional and valid.
“We have perused the review petitions as well as the grounds in support thereof. In our opinion, no case for review of judgment and order dated September 26, 2018 is made out. We hasten to add that change in the law or subsequent decision/judgment of a coordinate or larger Bench by itself cannot be regarded as a ground for review. The review petitions are accordingly dismissed,” said the majority.