Aadhaar: Supreme Court extends linking deadline indefinitely

Erika Holt
March 13, 2018

The Supreme Court has made a decision to extend the mandatory linking of Aadhaar details with services until the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court passes its judgement on the same.

At least for now, all the citizens who're yet to link their Aadhaar with bank accounts or mobile numbers can take a long breathe as there is no deadline for now.

Aadhaar is a unique identification provided in form of a twelve-digit number which is based on the biometric and demographic data of a person.

The final hearing in the Aadhaar validity case started on January 17, 2018.

In December 2017, the apex court had also directed the extension of Aadhaar number linking with mobile numbers and bank accounts till March 31, 2018.

The order was passed by the Constitution Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.

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The UPA Government launched Aadhaar, now the world's biggest biometric database, in 2009 to streamline welfare payments and reduce wastage in public spending. However, this order does not apply on linking of Aadhaar with subsidies and benefits offered by the government under Section 7. "In case of normal passport, pre-police verification is being done and for that goal Aadhaar is not being taken", Venugopal said.

This includes subsidies or direct benefit transfer schemes of the Ministries or Departments of the Union Government to all state governments, the deadline for which remains March 31.

Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution.

Earlier, senior advocate Shyam Divan, who led the arguments challenging Aadhaar and its enabling Act, had asked that the deadline of March 31 be extended as it was highly unlikely that the hearing in the case would conclude. He also submitted that Aadhaar is being used only to expedite the process of issuance of a passport.

It is unclear at the moment, however, whether banks or telecom service providers can insist that customers produce evidence of having applied for an Aadhaar number.

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