SC extends Aadhaar linking deadline to March 31, 2018

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Centre had yesterday offered to extend the deadline from December 31, 2017
  • The apex court is hearing a host of petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act

NEW DELHI: Supreme Court today extended the Aadhaar linking deadline to March 31, 2018.

The Centre had yesterday offered to extend the deadline from December 31, 2017.

The apex court is hearing a host of petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act.

Yesterday, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the final hearing on the petitions challenging the Aadhaar scheme itself would commence from January 17 next year.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, representing the Centre, said the government was willing to extend the deadline up to March 31 next year for mandatory linking of the national biometric identifier to avail the benefit of various services and welfare measures.

Venugopal, however, told the bench, that Aadhaar should be allowed to remain mandatory for the opening of new bank accounts.

The government yesterday issued a notification to extend until March 31 the deadline for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar and Permanent Account Number, or PAN, for bank accounts and certain financial transactions. There is no word yet on extending the February 6, 2018, deadline for linking mobile SIM cards with Aadhaar.

On the issue of linking of Aadhaar with mobile services, the Attorney General said that the deadline of February 6 next year was fixed in pursuance of an apex court direction and the constitution bench may consider extending this deadline also.

On November 27, the apex court had said it may consider setting up a constitution bench to hear the pleas challenging the Centre's move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for availing various services and benefits of welfare schemes.

Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution. Several petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar had claimed it violated privacy rights.

The Centre had on October 25 told the top court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to receive benefits of government schemes has been extended till March 31, 2018, for those who do not have the 12-digit unique biometric identification number and were willing to enrol for it.

The Attorney General had told the court that no coercive action would be taken against those who do not have the Aadhaar card but are willing to enrol for. He had said such people would not be denied the benefits of social welfare schemes till March 31.

Some petitioners in the top court have termed the linking of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) number with bank accounts and mobile numbers as "illegal and unconstitutional".

They have also objected to the CBSE's alleged move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for students appearing for examinations, a contention denied by the Centre.
Source - Times Of India

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