So, a clarification is in order.
Shyam Divan did not say that the bench was packed with Aadhaar judges. He said that if Aadhaar was upheld, then twenty-five years later, the Supreme Court would have “Aadhaar Judges”, because Aadhaar allows the government to have a complete electronic record of an individual.
Or, in other words, over a period of time, the government could weaponise all the information it had about individuals to ensure that only pliant people could come to occupy high posts.
About twenty minutes after Shyam Divan argued this, there was a disagreement between him and Chandrachud J on an entirely separate point – the scope of the petitioners’ written pleadings – which escalated into an angry exchange
In high-pressure cases, where advocates are often arguing passionately, this is very common. The situation was defused by the CJI and Kapil Sibal, Shyam Divan apologised, and arguments continued. When the bench rose, he apologised again.
Aadhaar was argued for three hours yesterday. Most of it was on the incredibly important point of the government’s claims of financial savings and plugging of leakages. But every media house chooses to focus on an inconsequential twenty-second flare up? Disappointing.
(This post is compilation of tweets @gautambhatia88 , who has been covering SC hearing on Aadhaar with live updates )