Attorney General K.K. Venugopal informed the Supreme Court today that the Centre is willing to extend the deadline for linking various services to Aadhaar till March, 2018. He, however, clarified that this extension is only proposed to be given to those who have not enrolled for Aadhaar yet.
Mr. Venugopal made the submissions after mentioning the matter before a Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.
According to the Centre's note, the Committee headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna, which is deliberating on a Data Protection Bill, has also initiated the process of reviewing the Aadhaar Act. During a meeting held on 16 October, the Committee directed each working group to provide specific comments and amendments on clauses of the draft Data Protection Bill. It further noted:
"They [working groups] should also suggest changes that may be required, if any, to other allied legislation such as the Aadhaar Act, 2016 or the Information Technology Act, 2000."
In the light of this, the Centre submitted that it would be willing to extend the deadline for linking Aadhaar to various programs for another three months. The note, however, states that the extension would only be provided to those who have not enrolled for Aadhaar.
The Centre's stand was strongly objected to by Mr. Shyam Divan, Ms. Meenakshi Arora, Mr. Arvind Datar and Mr. Anand Grover. They argued that if the deadline was being extended, it should be done for everyone, including those people who already have enrolled for Aadhaar. Alternatively, they suggested that the Government should refrain from taking coercive action against those who did not link Aadhaar to services till March, 2018.
Mr. Venugopal agreed to deliberate on the suggestion and submitted that the Centre will clarify its stance on the extensions on 30 October.