Willing to extend deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to March 31, 2018: Centre to SC

RSTV Bureau

AADHAAR

The Centre has told Supreme Court that it is willing to extend the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to various services till March 31 next year. The Centre told Supreme Court during a hearing of the batch of PILs over Aadhaar linking.

The petitioners challenging the Aadhaar scheme are pressing for an interim stay order on the government’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes.

The bench of CJI Dipak Mishra, Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, however, said the court would hear pleas challenging Aadhaar after the Constitution Bench concludes hearing the batch of pleas filed by the Delhi government against the Delhi high court verdict which had held that Delhi is not a state and the Lieutenant Governor (LG) is its administrative head.

The Supreme Court had last month set up a constitution bench to hear the batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing various services and government welfare schemes.

The court had also sought government’s response on four petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act and linking of bank accounts and mobile numbers with the 12-digit biometric identification number.

The apex court did not pass any interim order in the matter saying that final hearing in all Aadhaar-related issues would start before another bench in the last week of this month.

File Photo of Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.

File Photo of Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.

Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution. Several petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar had claimed it violated privacy rights.

The Centre had on October 25 told the top court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to receive benefits of government schemes has been extended till March 31, 2018 for those who do not have the 12-digit unique biometric identification number and were willing to enroll for it.

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 the final hearing in the main Aadhaar matter, which is pending before the apex court, was necessary as the government “cannot compel” citizens to link their Aadhaar with either bank accounts or cell phone numbers.

(With inputs from Agencies)