Parliament is supreme, SC tells Mamata; asks her to file personal petition

The Supreme Court today told West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee that her government cannot challenge Parliament's mandate and question its move to make Aadhaar mandatory for getting benefits of most government sponsored schemes.

The apex court, however, said Mamata Banerjee can move court if she has any problem with the central scheme and seek remedies.

The Supreme Court wondered how a state can challenge Parliament's mandate and question the Centre's move to make the Aadhaar card mandatory for receiving the benefits of social welfare schemes.

However, the apex court said under the federal structure an individual can file such a plea but not a state government.

"How can state file such a plea? In a federal structure, how can a state file a plea challenging Parliament's mandate," a bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan wondered at the outset.

"It can be challenged by individuals, but how a state has come (to court)? It cannot be done," the bench said, adding, "let Mamata Banerjee come and file a plea as individual. We will entertain it as she will be an individual".

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the West Bengal government, told the bench that the plea has been filed by the labour department of the state as subsidies under these welfare schemes have to be given by them.

Responding to his contention, the bench said, "You satisfy us how the state has challenged it. We know it is a matter which needs consideration."

Sibal, however, insisted that the state was entitled to filing such a plea as subsidies under these schemes have to be given by the labour department.

"If it is so, tomorrow the Centre will file a petition challenging the states Act," the bench observed.

When the bench referred to the prayer made for relief, Sibal said, "We will amend the relief sought. We are entitled to file it".

''They [judges] have given their directive and we will obey that,'' West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee say.

Mamata Banerjee said she will ''obey'' the directive of the Supreme Court, which questioned the state government's move to challenge a central law linking Aadhaar to social benefits and said she could file a plea in individual capacity.

''They (judges) have given their directive and we will obey that. I don't think there is any problem. We appreciate it,'' Banerjee said at the state secretariat.