March 22, 2018

Supreme Court indefinitely extends Aadhaar linking deadline

13 March 2018, 10:30 | Joann Bryant

A visitor gives a thumb impression to withdraw money from his bank account with his Aadhaar card in Hyderabad

A visitor gives a thumb impression to withdraw money from his bank account with his Aadhaar card in Hyderabad

The Supreme Court also noted that the Aadhaar Card would only be necessary for social welfare schemes and not other consumer services such as a getting a mobile phone connection.

On 15 December a year ago, the apex court had extended till 31 March the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes. The data disclosed with linking the Aadhaar to every service has exhibited a person's full profile comprising of spending habits, friends, and other private information, in public domain.

"We were prepared for extension in the last week of March", he told the court in a bid to stall the extension.

It quoted the Supreme Court's Constitution Bench that "when a statute vests certain power in an authority to be exercised in a particular manner, the said authority has to exercise it only in the manner provided in the statute itself".

"While the extension is certainly welcome, it is also important to note that there now is some uncertainty about whether this extension applies to linkages made mandatory under Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act". Further, they insisted that the Aadhaar card scheme was to be purely voluntary and could not be made mandatory until this court finally decides the matter.

The linkage with Aadhaar need not be done till the Supreme Court delivers its judgment in the matter.

Hearing the petitions, the bench on March 7 had held that Aadhaar was not mandatory for registering or appearing for NEET or any other national examinations and documents like Voter ID, Passport, Driving License, Bank Account book can be used for the objective.

The apex court's directive on Tatkal passports came after senior advocates Arvind Datar and Shyam Divan informed the bench that the government has come up with new Passports (1st Amendment) Rules, 2018, by which Tatkal passports were issued only on furnishing Aadhaar. However, do make a note that bank and telecom operators are still allowed you to send SMS, make calls about linking of Aadhaar with mobile number, but there will not be any deadline mention on the same. The bench then called the attorney general for assistance.

He proceeded to submit that though the Bill was modified in the Rajya Sabha, the modifications were ignored in the Lok Sabha.

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