An Aadhaar biometric identity card, issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), is arranged for a photograph in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Supreme Court Extends All Aadhaar Linkage Deadlines To March 31

A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court of India today extended the deadline to link Aadhaar with all services—from bank accounts to mobile services— to March 31.

Petitioners had sought an extension to the Dec. 31 deadline until the court finally decides on the challenge to the validity of the 12-digit unique ID. The government has already extended the last date for linking PAN card numbers and bank accounts till March 31.

In a hearing yesterday, the apex court witnessed 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, had said that 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 had 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. With this judgement, however, people will be allowed to open new bank accounts without an Aadhaar but will have to provide an Aadhaar enrollment number, PTI reported.