The Supreme Court will take up final hearing from January 17, 2018 on the petitions challenging Aadhaar card. The court, however, will pronounce an interim order on Friday on the pleas seeking stay on Centre’s move to make it mandatory for services and availing benefit schemes.
Arguing before the 5-judge constitution bench, Attorney General KK Venugopal said that the Centre is willing to extend the deadline up to March 31 for mandatory linking of Aadhaar.
The Attorney General also insisted that Aadhaar should remain mandatory for opening of new bank account.
On Wednesday, Centre had extended the deadline to link Aadhaar number with bank accounts till March 31, 2018. The deadline for existing bank account holders to furnish the 12-digit biometric identifier was initially December 31, 2017.
On the issue of linking of Aadhaar card with mobile services, the Attorney General said that the deadline of February 6 next year was fixed in pursuance of an apex court direction and the constitution bench may consider extending this deadline also.
Earlier, last weekend, the deadline for linking of PAN with Aadhaar too was extended till March 31, 2018.
The Constitution bench of Supreme Court has been hearing the matter since last month.
On November 27, the apex court had said it may consider setting up a constitution bench to hear the pleas challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for availing various services and benefits of welfare schemes.
Earlier this year, 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.
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”.
(With inputs from agencies)