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Mamata Banerjee moves Supreme Court against Centre’s Aadhaar linking

The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government has challenged in Supreme Court the Central government’s move to link Aadhaar with social welfare schemes and mobile phones — a mandatory provision that the ruling Trinamul Congress criticises for, what it calls, “invasion of people’s privacy”.

On Wednesday, Ms Banerjee had said that she will not link her phone with Aadhaar even if her connection is snapped.

The state government’s plea is likely to be heard by a bench comprising Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan on October 30.

In the petition, the Mamata government contended that the Centre cannot make linking of Aadhaar cards mandatory for social welfare schemes as it would affect millions of poor people dependent on the rural jobs scheme, public distribution scheme for subsidised grains and other welfare initiatives.

The state government said that the Centre was pushing for linking welfare benefits to Aadhaar despite repeated directions by the apex court that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for extending social welfare benefits to citizens.

Senior advocate and member of Parliament Kalyan Banerjee said that the state government’s petition was filed earlier and its date of listing was shared on Friday.

On October 25, the Centre had told the top court, which is hearing a number of petitions related to Aadhaar, that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail benefits of various government schemes has been extended till March 31 next year for those who do not have the 12-digit bio-metric identification number.

Attorney-general K.K. Venugopal had told a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that the deadline extension from December end this year till March 31, 2018, would apply only to those who do not have Aadhaar and are willing to enrol for it.

However, Mr Venugopal had told the bench that he would take instructions on certain issues on Aadhaar after which the court had asked him to mention the matter again on October 30.

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