The Centre on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that it is planning to extend the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail benefits of various government schemes till March 31 next year, but this is to be done for citizens who are “willing to enroll for Aadhaar”. Attorney-general KK Venugopal told a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that the deadline for Aadhaar linking to avail benefits of the schemes was to end in December and it has now been decided to extend it till March 31, 2018. He, however, said that those who already have Aadhaar will be required to sync their Aadhaar numbers with SIM cards, bank accounts, PAN and “other schemes where Section 7 (Aadhaar Act) notifications have been issued”. Earlier, the Centre had extended the deadline for mandatory linking of the 12-digit biometric identification number to avail social welfare benefits to December 31 from the earlier September 30.
However, senior counsel Shayam Divan and Arvind Datar, appearing for petitioners who have challenged the government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for these schemes, raised the issue of the mandatory linking of Unique Identification Authority of India number with bank accounts and mobile numbers.