Aadhaar card linking deadline: The central government today informed the Supreme Court, that it was willing to extend up to March 31 next year the deadline fixed for mandatory linking of Aadhaar card with various schemes. The apex court said it would hear a batch of petitions challenging mandatory linking of Aadhaar for granting various services to citizens after its constitution bench concludes the hearing in the dispute. The bench was headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud. It said that only the Constitution bench will pass an interim order in the matter. Currently, the last date to link Aadhaar card with bank accounts is December 31 this year while for mobile numbers, it is February 6, 2018.
The petitioners challenging the Aadhaar scheme have been pressing for an interim stay order on the government’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes. The apex court is hearing a batch of pleas filed by the Delhi government against the Delhi high court verdict which had held that Delhi is not a state and the Lieutenant Governor (LG) is its administrative head.
On October 30, a bench headed by the CJI had said that a constitution bench would be constituted and Aadhaar-related matters would come up for hearing before it. The apex court had on November 13 refused to entertain a plea challenging the linking of mobile numbers with Aadhaar, saying several similar petitions were already pending before it.
The top court had on February 6 asked the Centre to put in place within a year an effective mechanism to scrutinise details of the identity of over 100 crore existing and future mobile telephone consumers. It had on November 3 made it clear that banks and telecom service providers will have to indicate the last date of linking bank accounts and mobile numbers with Aadhaar in their communications with customers.
“We make it clear that in the messages sent by banks and telecom service providers, the date of December 31, 2017 and February 6, 2018, shall also be indicated as the last date of linking Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile numbers,” the bench had said.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing one of the petitioners, referred to the recent affidavit filed by the Centre and said it has been told by the government that the December 31 deadline for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts may be extended up to March 31, 2018. “The notification says the process (of linking Aadhaar with bank accounts) should be completed by December 31, 2017 or else the accounts would cease to operate. Now, they say it may be extended till March 31, 2018. Therefore, till March 31, bank accounts should not be made non-operational,” he said.