Aadhaar: Supreme Court Extends Deadline for Linking With Mobile Phone Connections

A visitor gives a thumb impression to withdraw money from his bank account with his Aadhaar card in Hyderabad

A visitor gives a thumb impression to withdraw money from his bank account with his Aadhaar card in Hyderabad

In a significant interim order, the Supreme Court today extended the deadline for linking Aadhaar with various schemes, including mobile phone number and new bank accounts.

However, Aadhaar will be mandatory for welfare benefits under Article 7 of the Aadhaar Act.

The order came as senior counsel Arvind Datar, appearing for one of the petitioners, told the court that passport issuing authorities have made submission of Aadhaar mandatory for issuance of passports.

Hearing the petitions, the bench on March 7 had held that Aadhaar was not mandatory for registering or appearing for NEET or any other national examinations and documents like Voter ID, Passport, Driving License, Bank Account book can be used for the goal.

On March 6, Attorney General K K Venugopal had indicated to the bench that the Centre was willing to extend the March 31 deadline in the wake of prolonged hearing of the matter.

In November 2017, the government had extended the linking of Aadhaar card with the Permanent Account Number (PAN) for taxpayers till March 31, 2018.

The top court had also observed that the alleged defect of citizens' biometric details under the Aadhaar scheme being collected without any law could be cured by subsequently bringing a statute.

"The government can not insist for mandatory Aadhaar even for issuance of Tatkal passport".

The apex court also ruled that Aadhaar can not be made mandatory for issuing Tatkal passport, the reports added.

However, Aadhaar will still be a must for social schemes and subsidies as under section 7 of the Aadhaar Act.

A group of petitioners have asked the Supreme Court to declare the government's insistence on Aadhaar disclosure as a violation of the right to privacy. The designated bank branches should cater to people for Aadhaar enrollment and update, even if they do not have an account with that particular branch.

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