New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended indefinitely the March 31 deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phones.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra extended the March 31 deadline for linking of the national biometric identifier with all services and welfare schemes. They have also said, “The government cannot insist for mandatory Aadhaar even for issuance of Tatkal passport.”
The constitution bench is hearing a batch of petitions which have challenged the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and its enabling Act. 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.
Those who haven’t linked your Aadhaar to your mobile number or bank account yet, this might come as a relief.
The bench, which also comprised justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, had earlier said that since the matter would have implications on financial institutions like banks and stock exchange, it would create a huge problem of compliance if the deadline was extended at the last moment.
However, the order will not apply to the deadline for subsidies and benefits under Section 7. This effectively means that the order will not apply in cases where subsidies are given by the government. So, while consumers will have time to link their mobile number, bank accounts and other institutions till Constitutional Bench hears the matter, government schemes where subsidies and benefits are given will have to be linked to Aadhaar by March 31.
Section 7 of Aadhaar Act relates to the targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services, the expenditure for which is incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India.