A five-judge Constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhusan heard a clutch of leas seeking a stay on government’s decision of mandatory linking of Aadhaar with welfare schemes, as well as essential services like banking and phone.
In its order, the apex court ruled that the deadlines for linking to the Unique Identification number stand extended till it decides on its validity.
Aadhaar will be necessary only for social schemes, said the top court, which is hearing a bunch of petitions that have challenged the validity of the 12-digit number.
Earlier, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that the government could extend the March 31 deadline for linking Aadhaar to various government schemes, as well as mobile phones and bank accounts, if required.
If you haven't linked your Aadhaar to your mobile number or bank account yet, this might come as a relief.
The Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, hearing a bunch of petitions against the Aadhaar law, was informed by Attorney General K K Venugopal that the Centre had extended the deadline in the past, too, and that it could do so again.
"If required, we can do it again," Venugopal said, after petitioners challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme sought an extension of the deadline to link the 12-digit unique identity number with various government schemes and services.
The petitioners, for their part, said that the deadline was approaching and the case was unlikely to be decided by March 31.
On December 15, 2017, the apex court had directed that the deadline for the linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phones be extended until March 31.
The Constitution Bench is hearing challenges to the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme on the touchstone of the fundamental right to privacy on a bunch of petitions by former Karnataka High Court Judge K S Puttuswamy, Magsaysay awardee Shanta Sinha, feminist researcher Kalyani Sen Menon, and others.