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Breaking- Supreme Court Dismisses Review Petitions Challenging Aadhaar Verdict, Justice Chandrachud Dissents

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
20 Jan 2021 11:58 AM GMT
Breaking- Supreme Court Dismisses Review Petitions Challenging Aadhaar Verdict, Justice Chandrachud Dissents
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The Supreme Court, by 4:1 majority, has dismissed a batch of review petitions challenging the judgment of the Constitution Bench in Aadhaar case [Puttaswamy (Aadhaar-5J.) v Union of India].While Justices AM Khanwilkar, Ashok Bhushan, S. Abdul Nazeer and BR Gavai observed that no case for review of judgment, Justice DY Chandrachud expressed his dissent. The review petitions were...

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The Supreme Court, by 4:1 majority, has dismissed a batch of review petitions challenging  the judgment of the Constitution Bench in Aadhaar case [Puttaswamy (Aadhaar-5J.) v Union of India].

While Justices AM Khanwilkar, Ashok Bhushan, S. Abdul Nazeer and BR Gavai observed that no case for review of judgment, Justice DY Chandrachud expressed his dissent. The review petitions were not heard in open court, but 'by circulation'.

According to majority, a 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 order dated 11th January 2021 (out today), reads as follows:

"The present review petitions have been filed against the final judgment and order dated 26.09.2018. 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 26.09.2018 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. Consequently, prayer for urging additional grounds in Review Petition (Civil) No. 22/2019 stands rejected." the majority observed in a two paged order.

On the other hand, Justice Chandrachud opined that the review petitions should be kept pending until the larger bench decides the questions referred to it in Rojer Mathew.

"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 (Aadhaar-5J.), 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.", Justice DY Chandrachud said in his dissenting opinion.

Aadhaar Judgment and subsequent developments

The majority judgment in Aadhaar Case was authored by Justice AK Sikri, had read down some of the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act 2016, struck down a few but significant ones (mainly Section 33(2), 47 and 57), and upheld the rest. Justice Chandrachud, in his dissent, opined that the entire Aadhaar project is unconstitutional.

Later another Constitution Bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi (then CJI) in its judgment [Rojer Mathew vs. South Indian Bank Ltd] examining the validity of provisions of Finance Act 2017 affecting tribunals, doubted the correctness of the interpretation of the majority judgment which held that Aadhaar Bill is a Money Bill within the meaning of Article 110(1) of the Constitution. It was observed that  noted that the majority dictum in Aadhaar judgment did not substantially discuss the effect of the word 'only' in Article 110(1) and did not examine the repercussions of a finding when some of the provisions of an enactment passed as a "Money Bill" do not conform to Article 110(1)(a) to (g). The bench had therefore referred the matter to larger bench.

Case: Beghar Foundation vs Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) [Review Petition (Civil) Diary No. 45777 of 2018]
Coram: Justices AM Khanwilkar, Ashok Bhushan, S. Abdul Nazeer, Justice DY Chandrachud and BR Gavai
Citation: LL 2021 SC 30

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