NEW DELHI: In a big relief to those who haven’t yet linked their Aadhaar with bank accounts, mobile phones, insurance and a clutch of other services as mandated by the government, the Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the deadline for linking of Aadhaar with these services until a Constitution Bench gives its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the Aadhaar Act.
March 31 was the previous deadline for Aadhaar linkage with various services.The deadline for subsidies and benefits under Section 7 of the Constitution will stay as March 31, 2018, the SC ruled.
Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act states that central or state governments can make possession of an Aadhaar number or Aadhaar authentication mandatory for receipt of subsidies, benefits or services funded out of the Consolidated Fund of India.
During the hearing on Tuesday, 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.
At this point, Attorney General KK Venugopal sought to clarify that this requirement was only for issuance of ‘tatkal’ passports.
To this, the bench said,“The government cannot insist for mandatory Aadhaar even for the issuance of Tatkal passport.”
The petitioners opposing the mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and phone numbers had sought an extension of the deadline for such linkage.
They argued the mandatory linking of the 12-digit unique identity number with services will compromise an individual’s privacy.
The Supreme Court is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme on the touchstone of the fundamental right to privacy filed by former Karnataka High Court Judge KS Puttuswamy, Magsaysay awardee Shanta Sinha, and researcher Kalyani Sen Menon and others.
No Aadhaar for Tatkal passport
“The government cannot insist for mandatory Aadhaar even for the issuance of Tatkal passport,” the Supreme Court bench clarified.