The Union government on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that it will extend up to March 31, 2018 the deadline fixed for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various schemes, including one’s bank accounts. Attorney General K K Venugopal, however, said the last date for linking Aadhaar to mobile services will remain February 6, 2018 in pursuance of a judicial order.
The A-G also reportedly informed the top court that a Data Protection Committee led by Justice Sri Krishna will submit its final report to the government by February 2018.
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, meanwhile, said it will set up a Constitution bench next week to hear the interim pleas seeking a stay on Centre’s move to link Aadhaar with various government schemes and services. The government may, however, restrict the March 31, 2018 extension only to those who still do not have an Aadhaar number. Arguments in this regard were inconclusive and are likely to come up during the hearing next week.
Some petitioners in the top court have termed the linking of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) number with bank accounts and mobile numbers as “illegal and unconstitutional”. They have also objected to the CBSE’s alleged move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for students appearing for examinations, a contention denied by the Centre. One of the counsel representing the petitioners had earlier said that final hearing on the main Aadhaar matter was necessary as the government “cannot compel” citizens to link their Aadhaar with either bank accounts or cell phone numbers.
On November 26, the top court had said that it would hear the petitions after its constitution bench concludes hearing the Delhi-Centre governance dispute. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Deepak Misra had in October said that a constitution bench would be constituted and Aadhaar-related matters would come up for hearing before it.
(With PTI inputs)