New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail various services till a Constitution Bench rules on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the Aadhaar Act.
March 31 was the previous deadline for Aadhaar linkage, but the five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had on March 7 said it may not be possible to decide by then the clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the biometric scheme and the enabling law.
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.
The government had made it mandatory to link Aadhaar with welfare schemes, as well as essential services like banking and phone, insisting that it was necessary to weed out benami deals and black money. The Centre was also planning to make it mandatory to link Aadhaar card with driving licence and voter ID cards, among other things.
On December 15 last year, the apex court had extended till March 31 the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes.
Former Karnataka High Court judge Justice K S Puttaswamy had told the apex court on February 22 that several deaths had reportedly taken place due to starvation on account of glitches in the Aadhaar-based public distribution system and the court must consider granting them compensation.
Earlier, the top court had observed that the alleged defect of citizens' biometric details under the Aadhaar scheme being collected without any law could be cured by subsequently bringing in a statute.
It had said that the Centre came out with the law in 2016 to negate the objection that it was collecting data since 2009 without any authorisation, but the issue which needed consideration was what would happen if the data collected earlier, had been compromised.