Aadhaar-linking deadline extended, indefinitely

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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.

The Apex Court bench on December 15 previous year had earlier extended the deadline for linking of bank accounts and mobile phone connections till March 31.

There's no new deadline to connect these services with the 12-digit Aadhaar number.

The Supreme Court says that the government can not insist on providing Aadhaar, even to issue Tatkal passports. "Except for giving subsidy, Aadhaar linking can not be mandated by the government." the Supreme Court said. The government, in its defence, had insisted on quoting Aadhaar for bank deposits for obtaining mobile phone and several other utilities to weed out corruption and tighten its grip on the black money floating in the country. This decision was challenged by certain petitioners, who insist that the Aadhaar Act is illegal, and is a violation of a citizen's now fundamental Right To Privacy. In other words, government schemes where subsidies and benefits are given will have to be linked to Aadhaar by March 31. "In case of normal passport, pre-police verification is being done and for that goal Aadhaar is not being taken", Venugopal said. The top court is hearing petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act.

It also says people, who have not secured Aadhaar number, can avail benefits of government schemes by establishing the fact that they have applied for the biometric identifier. The deadline was said to be on March 31, 2018, but the court today said that the deadline is extended indefinitely, meaning there's no deadline until Supreme Court states it again.

In response, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Wednesday announced the establishment of a new security system, whereby Aadhaar number holders do not have to submit their unique IDs to verify their details when applying for specific services.