Language in the court can’t be controlled, if not unparliamentary: SC

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New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday said that it has no control over the language being used by counsel if it was not unparliamentary.

“We have no control over the language (being used by counsel) unless it is unparliamentary,” said the bench of Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Navin Sinha.

Its response came after Attorney General K.K.Venugopal objected to senior counsel Shyam Divan describing the country becoming a “concentration camp” with the imposition of the otherwise voluntary Aadhaar scheme.

Taking “strong objection” to Divan’s description, Venugopal said: “My friend is getting hyperbolic”. He also said that in such a situation, he will not join him in making a joint request to Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar to set up a larger bench (of 9 judges) to decide whether iris scan and fingerprints – collected under Aadhaar scheme violated one’s right to privacy and whether privacy was a fundamental right or not be decided by a larger bench.

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Favouring that the issue of privacy and the nature of its right be decided by the larger bench, the bench asked Divan to mention the matter before the Chief Justice. At this, Venugopal said he will also approach Chief Justice Khehar.

“We believe that the matter be heard and decided for once,” the bench said referring to the long history of the Aadhaar litigation.

The court said this as Divan, appearing for National Commission for Protection of Child Rights’ first chairperson Shanta Sinha and feminist researcher Kalyani Sen Menon, pointed to the series of notifications issued by the Central government mandating the use of Aadhaar number for social welfare schemes.

However, Venugopal said that all this was being done to make 350 million people living below poverty line get benefits of social welfare schemes.

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An apex court bench of Justice Chelameswar, Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice C. Nagappan had on August 11, 2015 referred to the constitution bench the challenge to the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme.

The matter now needs to be heard by a nine judge bench as back in 1954, an eight judge bench and in 1964, a six judge bench held that right to privacy was not a fundamental right. However, from the mid-1970s, smaller benches of two to three judges gradually asserted that privacy was a right that can be read into the Constitution’s Article 21 or its other provisions relating to fundamental rights.



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