Published Date - 14 March 2018 05:48:36 Updated Date - 14 March 2018 05:51:18

Supreme Court Extends Aadhaar Linking Deadline to link Bank Accounts & Mobile Numbers

The Supreme Court  extended the deadline for linking of Aadhaar with mobile number, opening of new bank accounts and other services until it passes its verdict on a pending challenge to the constitutional validity of such linkages.

The five-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A K Sikri, Justice A M Khanwilkar, Justice D Y Chandrachud, and Justice Ashok Bhushan said there was no need to link Aadhaar  to these services till a judgment was pronounced on the constitutionality of the Unique Identification Programme

In a major relief to those who still haven't linked their Aadhaar cards with bank accounts and mobile numbers, the Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the deadline from March 31 indefinitely till the final judgement in the controversial case. The apex court is hearing the case on the constitutional validity of the government's biometrical identification scheme

However, it is still mandatory to link your welfare schemes with Aadhaar to get benefits under Article 7 before the deadline. The SC bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, said on Tuesday that the government can't insist on mandatory Aadhaar linking with mobile phones, passports, PAN, etc.

The court also noted that Aadhaar could not be made mandatory for issuance of a Tatkal passport, for now.

The extension would be applicable to the schemes of ministries/departments of the Union government as well as those of state governments, the court ruled in an interim order.

It was however, clarified that the extension would not be applicable for availing services, subsidies and benefits under Section 7 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.

A Constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices D.Y. Chandrachud, A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar and Ashok Bhushan is hearing a challenge to the constitutional basis of the 12-digit unique identification project, which is now likely to conclude after 31 March, the earlier deadline for Aadhaar linking.

The deadline to link Aadhaar to various services has been extended by the Supreme Court. The decision was taken on Tuesday afternoon. The apex court said that the deadline to link Aadhaar with mobile or bank accounts has been extended until the disposal of Aadhaar case. ‘SC extends March 31 deadline for Aadhaar linkages till the constitution bench delivers judgement on the matter,’ PTI reported. Earlier, the deadline to link Aadhaar with various services was set for March 31, 2018. This development comes as a major relief for those who haven’t linked their Aadhaar yet.

 

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.

In another significant order, the apex court ruled that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for issuing Tatkal passport. The order was passed by the Constitution Bench of the top court comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.

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.

The Supreme Court had in 2013 prevented the government from forcing people to submit their Aadhaar number to access welfare schemes. However, the BJP-led NDA government managed to get around this hurdle by getting parliamentary approval for a new law in 2016.

On December 2017, the apex court had set March 31 as the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes. However, a five-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan is hearing pleas seeking a stay on the decision of making Aadhaar linking mandatory to avail services.

The Election Commission of India, on the other hand, said that as many as 32 crore people in the country have linked their Aadhaar numbers to voter ID cards. Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat said that another 54.5 crore Aadhaar numbers will be done as soon as they get a nod from the Supreme Court.

Asked how long it would take to link another 54.5 crore Aadhaar numbers, Rawat said “we did 32 crore in just three months”.

However, people must link their Aadhaar Card with welfare schemes to avail the benefits of such schemes as per Article 7. SC bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Mishra on 13 March 2018 said in an interim order that the central govt. can’t force people for adhar-pan link, passport and mobile number etc.

This SC interim order is only for pan card, mobile numbers, tatkal passport and bank accounts.

Aadhaar Linking – Supreme Court Decision

Banks and Mobile Service providers are repeatedly calling and sending messages to their customers to link 12 digit Aadhaar number to avail uninterrupted services. Accordingly, SC decision on 13th March still says that people must link their Aadhaar Card with welfare schemes like Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), MNREGA, Mid Day Meal Scheme etc.


Highlights of Supreme Court  Decision –

  • There is no necessity for Aadhaar Linking with mobile phones, passport and bank accounts till final verdict.
  • Subsequently, SC has also not specified the new Aadhar Linking deadline to connect these services with 12 digit Aadhaar numbers.
  • Moreover, SC has not extended the deadlines for Aadhar Card Link with LPG, MNREGA etc.
  • Accordingly, central govt. can’t insist on linking of Aadhaar card with mobile phone, bank account, passport and adhar pan link.
  • Henceforth, to avail the benefits of around 93 centrally sponsored schemes through Direct Benefit Transfer,
    people must link Aadhaar number before 31 March 2018.
 

Central Govt. Stand on Aadhaar Linking

Previously on 7 March 2018, Central govt. told SC that govt. might extend deadline till the hearing process is ongoing. Central govt. has extended the deadline in the past and will extend it again. However, govt. will extend this by the end of month to facilitate petitioners to conclude the arguments. Accordingly, 5 judge bench of SC who is hearing these petitions has agreed to the contention.

Till March 2017, Indian govt. has issued around 1.14 billion Aadhaar cards which is 85% of the overall population.


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