In a major development, the Supreme Court has extended the March 31 deadline for linking Aadhaar number with various services, including banking and phone numbers. The five-judge constitution bench on Tuesday ordered that citizens are not needed to link their Aadhaar numbers till it decides the issue in totality.
The constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra is hearing batch of petitions challenging the validity of the biometric scheme and the enabling law.
The court had on March 7 said it may not be possible to decide by March 31 the batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act.
The bench, which also comprised justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, had earlier said that since the matter would have implications on financial institutions, like banks and stock exchange, it would create a huge problem of compliance if the deadline was extended at the last moment.
On December 15 last year, the apex court had extended till March 31 the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes.
Former Karnataka High Court judge Justice KS Puttaswamy had told the apex court on February 22 that several deaths had reportedly taken place due to starvation on account of glitches in the Aadhaar-based public distribution system and the court must consider granting them compensation.
Earlier, the top court had observed that the alleged defect of citizens’ biometric details under the Aadhaar scheme being collected without any law could be cured by subsequently bringing in a statute.
It had said that the Centre came out with the law in 2016 to negate the objection that it was collecting data since 2009 without any authorisation, but the issue which needed consideration was what would happen if the data collected earlier, had been compromised.
(With inputs from PTI)