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Breaking: SC Extends Deadline for Mandatory Linkage Of Aadhaar With All Schemes And Services To March 31 [Read Order]

Mehal Jain
15 Dec 2017 5:27 AM GMT
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The five-judges Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Friday  extended the deadline for mandatory linkage of Aadhaar number with all services and schemes including bank accounts and mobile numbers, to March 31, 2018

In respect of bank accounts , the deadline had been extended to March 31, 2018, with leniency in so far as the holders of new bank accounts are concerned, mere application for Aadhaar shall suffice and the application number may be submitted.

The last date for mandatory Aadhaar based E-KYC for mobile services has been extended to March 31, 2018 from the earlier date of February 6, 2018, stipulated under order dated February 6 of the Supreme Court in Lok Niti Foundation v. UOI.

Further, the deadline for all schemes of the ministries and departments of the Union government as extended to March 31, 2018 shall also be applicable to all state governments. Finally, the judgement in Binoy Viswam v. UOI shall continue to prevail in so far as the requirement of Aadhaar for PAN under section 139 AA of the Income Tax Act of 1961 is concerned.

On Thursday, a number of Senior Advocates such as Shyam Diwan, Gopal Subramanium, Arvind Datar, K. V. Viswanathan and Meenakshi Arora had advanced submissions challenging the validity of the 139 notifications issued by the Central government under section 7 of the Aadhar Act of 2016 mandating the Unique Identification Number as a prerequisite for bank accounts, mobile phones, registration for examinations, disbursement of scholarships, availing retroviral treatment for HIV patients, issue of death certificates etc.

It was contended that the notifications were in contravention of the Supreme Court interim orders dated August 11, 2015 and October 15, 2015, confining the mandatory procurement of Aadhar card to 6 social security schemes- PDS scheme, LPG Distribution Scheme, MGNREGA scheme, National Security Assistance Programme, PM Jan Dhan Yojana and the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme.

It was also argued that the Parliament had intended the enrolment for Aadhar under the Act of 2016 to be free and voluntary, except in respect of ‘subsidies, benefits and services’ relating to an expenditure or receipt on the Consolidated Fund of India.

Also, it was submitted that in view of the nine-judges bench decision dated August 24 of the Supreme Court in the Justice K. S. Puttaswamy matter, the right to privacy under Article 21 could only be entrenched upon with the backing of a statute. Relying on the apex court’s judgement in Binoy Viswam v. UOI, it was submitted that Aadhaar number could not be made an obligatory prerequisite unless so required by a legislation.

Further, Senior Advocates KTS Tulsi and Anand Grover and Advocate Prashant Bhushan had drawn the attention of the apex court to the draconian consequences of leakage of biometric data that the Aadhar scheme requires citizens to part with.

Read the Order Here

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