The deadline to link Aadhaar with bank accounts and various government schemes will be pushed back from December 31 to March 31, the government has told the Supreme Court today. The extension, however, will apply only to those who do not have the Unique Identification Number yet.
The government will issue notification for the extension tomorrow, Attorney General KK Venugopal, who is representing the Centre, told the court. But the deadline for Aadhaar linking to cellphone numbers, February 6, cannot be extended, since the date has been named by the top court, the Centre said.
The petitioners, who had appealed against making the linking of Aadhaar mandatory, have objected to the conditional extension of deadline.
“Our case is those who have Aadhaar must also be allowed not to link. There are fears that Aadhaar will be misused,” said Udayaditya Banerjee, the advocate representing the petitioner “We have challenged the Aadhaar scheme itself. We wanted the court to pass interim orders,” the lawyer added.
The interim order is expected next week, when the court hears the case again, he said.
Social activists have asked the Supreme Court to stop the Centre from making the linking of Aadhaar mandatory for bank accounts and mobile phone numbers, contending that it violates people’s right to privacy and can be misused. Their petition also challenges the validity of Aadhaar, which contains biometric details like finger prints and iris scans.
Currently, the 12-digit number has to be added to bank accounts, PAN cards, government services and cellphone services.
The matter will be heard by a five-judge bench of the top court, which will be led by Chief Justice Dipak Mishra.