The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday reserved its interim order for tomorrow on a batch of pleas seeking a stay on the government’s decision of mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various welfare schemes, as the Centre extended the deadline up to 31 March next year.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the final hearing on the petitions challenging the validity of Aadhaar scheme itself would commence from 17 January next year.
Attorney General K K Venugopal, representing the Centre, said the government was willing to extend the deadline up to March 31 next year.
Aadhaar should be mandatory for opening bank accounts: Govt
However, Venugopal told the bench comprising of Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushanthat the Aadhaar should be allowed to remain mandatory for opening of new bank accounts.
On Wednesday, the government issued a notification to extend till March 31 the deadline for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar and Permanent Account Number (PAN) for bank accounts and certain financial transactions.
However, there is no word on extending the 6 February, 2018 deadline for linking mobile SIM cards with Aadhaar.
On the issue of linking of Aadhaar card with mobile services, the Attorney General said that the deadline of 6 February, 2018, was fixed in pursuance of an apex court direction and the constitution bench may consider extending this deadline also.
Petition challenging Aadhaar
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.
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.
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.
(With agency inputs)