A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court of India today reserved its judgement on the interim relief sought by petitions to extend the deadline making Aadhaar mandatory for everything from bank accounts to mobile services.
Petitioners had sought that the Dec. 31 deadline be extended till the court finally decides on the challenge to the validity of the 12-digit unique ID. The government has already extended the last date till March 31 for linking PAN card numbers.
The apex court said the final hearing in the Aadhaar case will start from Jan. 17. The hearing today saw arguments from a number of top lawyers including Senior Advocates Gopal Subramaniam, Shyam Divan, Arvind Datar, Sajjan Poovayya, Anand Grover, CA Sundaram, Rakesh Dwivedi and Attorney General KK Venugopal.
Divan, representing petitioners, said previous orders by the Supreme Court made it clear that Aadhaar is voluntary. Making the scheme mandatory is a violation of the top court’s order. Subramaniam argued that the court’s earlier interim orders protect the fundamental rights of citizens which cannot be taken away even by legislation.
Attorney General Venugopal informed the court that the government will extend the deadlines to link Aadhaar with all services and schemes prescribed so far, except the opening of new bank accounts.
The apex court bench—headed by Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra and comprising Justices AK Sikri, Ashok Bhushan, AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud—will pronounce its order at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow.