SC extends Aadhaar linking deadline till its verdict (Second Lead)
Mar 13 2018 by Desiree Burns
The Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 13, revoked the government's March 31 deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phones till the five-judge bench gives its judgment on petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, said media reports.
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".
"We direct that the interim order passed on December 15, 2017 shall stand extended till the matter is finally heard and the judgment is pronounced", the court said in its order.
However, the deadline for subsidies, benefits will remain March 31.
The fact that time is running out for linking Aadhaar and citizens should not be left in a state of uncertainty was highlighted by one of the judges, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, on the Aadhaar Constitution Bench itself.
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In reported interim order the court has said that the government can not insist on mandatory Aadhaar linkages - unless it is for the express goal of subsidies - until the bench finally decides one way or the other. However, as reported by PTI, you may still have to provide your Aadhaar to avail of any government services and benefits like LPG and kerosene subsidies, and government scholarships. Aadhaar is already made a mandate for welfare, pension, employment schemes and passport services (even for renewal).
The UPA Government launched Aadhaar, now the world's biggest biometric database, in 2009 to streamline welfare payments and reduce wastage in public spending.
There have been several cases of Aadhaar data breach.
Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution.
Apart from extending the deadline for linking Aadhaar with mobile number, the Supreme Court has also extended the deadline to link Aadhaar with bank accounts. The Supreme Court chose to take this action because of various Constitution Bench rules on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the Aadhaar Act.