The Supreme Court today extended the March 31 Aadhaar deadline till it delivers its final verdict on the entire case and said that the UIDAI card is not mandatory for banking, phone and passport services for now.
However, the UIDAI or Unique Identification Authority of India card will be mandatory for social welfare benefits under Article 7 of the Aadhaar Act. The five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, said the government cannot insist for mandatory Aadhaar linking for phone, bank accounts, passports or other such services.
The Supreme Court is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme on the touchstone of the fundamental right to privacy filed by former Karnataka High Court Judge KS Puttuswamy, Magsaysay awardee Shanta Sinha, feminist researcher Kalyani Sen Menon and others.
The Supreme Court order today came as senior counsel Arvind Datar, appearing for one of the petitioners, told the court that passport issuing authorities have made submission of Aadhaar mandatory for issuance of passports.
At this point, Attorney General KK Venugopal sought to clarify that this requirement of Aadhaar was only for issuance of ‘tatkal’ passports.
The court order also extended this extension to the issuance of passports.
On December 15 last year, the Supreme Court had directed the extension of deadline till March 31 for the linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phones.
GOVT SAID IT COULD EXTEND DEADLINE
Earlier this month, the Centre said that more time would be needed to conclude the hearing in the Aadhaar case and that the government may extend the deadline beyond March 31, PTI reported.
The Constitution bench of the Supreme Court agreed with the Attorney General’s contention.
“We have extended the deadline in the past and we will extend the deadline again but we may do it by the end of month to enable the petitioners in the case conclude the arguments,”
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, who is leading the arguments that challenge Aadhaar and its enabling Act, had said the deadline of March 31 should be extended as it was highly unlikely that the hearing would be concluded in time to meet it.
CBSE WON’T INSIST ON AADHAAR ONLY-ID FOR ALL-INDIA EXAMS: SC
Last week, the Supreme Court had said that the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will not insist on Aadhaar-only identification for NEET and other all-India examinations.