For those who haven’t linked Aadhaar number with mobile phone accounts yet may breathe a little easy now, as the Supreme Court has extended Aadhar linking deadline for new bank accounts and mobile phone services to March 31 from the existing February 6. It is to be noted that the Supreme Court has said that new bank account can be opened without Aadhaar, but customers will have to furnish the same by March 31. Further, the Supreme Court has also extended the Aadhaar linking deadline for all the Central and State government schemes and services to March 31, 2018.
Yesterday, Attorney General K K Venugopal said that the government is willing to extend the deadline up to March 31 for mandatory linking of Aadhaar for some services. The apex court was hearing pleas seeking an interim stay on the Centre’s decision directing mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services such as mobile phone, bank accounts, government schemes and welfare measures. Earlier this week, the government had already extended the Aadhaar linking deadline for existing bank accounts to March 31.
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.