SC Has Indefinitely Extended March 31 Deadline For Aadhaar Linking

Nellie Chapman
March 13, 2018

In its order the Supreme Court bench also consisting of Justices AK Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan said that the "mandatory" Aadhaar linking of with bank accounts and mobile phones will stand extended indefinitely till the final judgment is pronounced.

They argue that the mandatory linking of the 12-digit unique identity number with services will compromise an individual's privacy.

The deadline to link Aadhaar with PAN was extended to March 31 in November previous year.

The top court said the government can not insist on providing Aadhaar, even to issue Tatkal passports.

Despite submissions made by senior advocate Shyam Divan and advocate Vipin Nair that the indefinite extension of the deadline should include all services, including those under Section 7, the court restricted its relaxation of the deadline to services outside Section 7.

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However, this extension will not apply with respect to schemes covered by Section 7 of Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.

Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution.

For many of us March 31 was looming large over our heads - what with us having to link many of our essential services with our Aadhaar. In other words, government schemes where subsidies and benefits are given will have to be linked to Aadhaar by March 31.

Since 2014, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying to mandate the use of Aadhaar for everything from filing income tax to the registration of mobile phone numbers and booking railway tickets, and for casting your vote. The constitution bench is hearing a batch of petitions which have challenged the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and its enabling Act. Justice Chandrachud, too, had pointed out that even if the court reserved its verdict on March 20, the banks and other institution would have only 10 days left, which might be hard.

Aadhaar as an ID has been mandatory by the government for every Indian citizen to avail of various social welfare schemes and government services.

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