As mandatory linking of Aadhaar was being heard in the Supreme Court on Thursday, for which the interim judgement is likely to be announced on Friday, Attorney General K K Venugopal said that the government is willing to extend the deadline up to March 31 for mandatory linking of Aadhaar. This means that the government may soon notify the deadline extension soon, but until then the current deadline for various services stands.
The extension of the deadline would be applicable for all services, except for new bank accounts, the Attorney General said. The apex court was hearing pleas seeking an interim stay on the Centre’s decision directing mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various government schemes and welfare measures.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud took up the interlocutory applications seeking interim relief against the Centre’s decision on linking of Aadhaar with various schemes. The Centre had on December 7 told the apex court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail various services and welfare schemes would shortly be extended till March 31 next year.
On November 27, the apex court had said it may consider setting up a constitution bench to hear pleas challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for availing various services and benefits of welfare schemes. It had on October 30 said a constitution bench would commence hearing on the clutch of petitions against the Aadhaar scheme from the last week of November.
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.