Just one day after the government of India told the Supreme Court that it will extend the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar card to avail various services and welfare schemes, Centre has indeed extended the last date to link Aadhaar card with PAN card to 31st March 2018. This announcement comes just one day after the Centre told a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which said it may set up a five-judge Constitution bench next week to hear several pleas seeking an interim stay on the decision of mandatory linking of Aadhaar, that the date might be extended in the near future.
The news was confirmed by the Finance Ministry which in a tweet said, “It has come to notice that some of the taxpayers have not yet completed the linking of PAN with Aadhaar. Therefore, to facilitate the process of linking, it has been decided to further extend the time for linking of Aadhaar with PAN till 31st March,2018.”
Attorney General K K Venugopal vehemently opposed before the bench, which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, the plea of senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for those opposing the Aadhaar scheme, that the ongoing Aadhaar enrolment process be stayed. “There cannot be a stay on the Aadhaar scheme which has gone on for years,” Venugopal said, adding that the current deadline of December 31 will be extended and a notification to this effect may be issued tomorrow itself.
UIDAI, the authority which issues Aadhaar, on the other hand, had issued a notification later in the day clarifying that notifications for verifying bank accounts, PAN cards and mobile SIM cards with the biometric ID are valid and there is no change in them. The UIDAI said the deadlines agreed in the court will be the valid timelines for verifications.
The government of India had decided December 21 as the last date for verifying bank accounts and income tax Permanent Account Number (PAN) by providing Aadhaar. Meanwhile, the last date to link the SIM cards is February 6, 2018.
Refuting social media messages, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had said that as on date there is no stay from the Supreme Court on Aadhaar and its linking to various services. “That Aadhaar Act being in force, all notifications for requiring Aadhaar for various welfare programmes, verifying bank account, PAN card and SIM card with Aadhaar stand valid and lawful,” it said in a statement.