The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to extend the deadline for linking Aadhaar numbers with various government welfare schemes to avail benefits. The five-judge Constitution bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra turned down a request in this regard, saying 'we are not going to issue any interim orders now'.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to extend the deadline for linking Aadhaar numbers with various government welfare schemes to avail benefits. The five-judge Constitution bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra turned down a request in this regard, saying ‘we are not going to issue any interim orders now’. Petitioners who have challenged the Constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act had urged the court to extend the deadline keeping in mind large number of authentication failures while linking the 12-digit Aadhaar numbers with government schemes.
The request to grant some extra time to citizens to link their Aadhaar numbers with government welfare schemes was made after UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey told the court that authentication success for the government system was 88 per cent. Unique Identification Authority of India is the nodal agency responsible for implementing Aadhaar. Senior advocates KV Viswanathan and Shyam Divan, appearing for a petitioner, requested the court to consider their demand given that they were earlier under the impression that authentication failures were only 23 lakh but after the UIDAI CEO’s revelation before the court, they have come to know that the figure ran into several crores.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, who was also present inside the courtroom, opposed the demand. He argued that authentication failure didn’t mean rejection and that ‘there has not been a single case of rejection’.
According to Pandey, who was allowed by the court last week to make a PowerPoint presentation to allay various concerns related to the matter, had submitted that for government systems, the authentication success rate is 88 per cent, for banks it is 95 per cent and for telecom, it is 97 per cent. When the AG was asked why the authentication rate was low in the government system compared to others, he replied, ‘this was because of some vested interests who were spreading misinformation as they were against Aadhaar’.
The court had earlier this month extended the deadline for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile numbers indefinitely till it delivers the final judgment in the case. Yesterday, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) also decided to grant time for linking Aadhaar with PAN till June 30. The earlier deadline was March 31. The SC is hearing the case on the constitutional validity of Aadhaar Act.