SC stays 31 March deadline for mandatory Aadhar linkage

We keep receiving SMS from our telecom service providers like Airtel and Vodafone everyday regarding mobile number re-verification and linking of Aadhaar card with mobile numbers till March 31, 2018.

There's no new deadline to connect these services with the 12-digit Aadhaar number. There should be a sense of certainty that citizens would not be harmed or their services would not be curtailed even as the very Aadhaar scheme is under the apex court's microscope.

Today's ruling comes after the court started hearing the matter again on March 6 after a group had approached it in December opposing the mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts, phone numbers and other services.

The bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, said Aadhaar will not be mandatory for obtaining Tatkal passports too.

The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, however, said that Aadhaar is still necessary to avail social benefits, services and subsidies.

The extension will be applicable for all schemes and services except in cases where subsidy is to be claimed from the schemes covered by Section 7 of Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.

Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act says that the Centre and State governments can insist on Aadhaar "for the goal of establishing identity of an individual as a condition for receipt of a subsidy, benefit or service for which the expenditure is incurred from the Consolidated Fund of India".

Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution.

Data security concerns surrounding the government's Aadhaar project have generated a lot of heated public debate in the past few years.

For the unaware, March 31 was the previous deadline to link mobile connection/bank account with Aadhaar.

"The government can not insist for mandatory Aadhaar even for issuance of Tatkal passport".

There's a good news for those who were fretting over linking their Aadhaar number with their bank or mobile numbers.

This includes subsidies or direct benefit transfer schemes of the Ministries or Departments of the Union Government to all state governments, the deadline for which remains March 31. The Supreme Court chose to take this action because of various Constitution Bench rules on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the Aadhaar Act.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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