SC extends deadline for Aadhaar linkage up to March 31, 2018

SC extends deadline for Aadhaar linkage up to March 31, 2018

The Supreme Court also extended the deadline for Aadhaar linking on Friday with all government-sponsored welfare schemes and services to March 31, 2018. A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in an interim order, also modified its earlier order with regard to Aadhaar linking of mobile services and said the deadline of February 6 next year for this objective also stood extended till March 31.

Yesterday, Attorney General K K Venugopal had submitted before the top court that the deadline of mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes can also be extended upto March 31 next year.

On Wednesday, the government had issued a Gazette notification amending rules under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act of 2002 (PMLA) by replacing the requirement of submitting "the Aadhaar number and Permanent Account Number by December 31, 2017" with a provision saying "submit the Aadhaar number, and Permanent Account Number or Form No. 60, by such date as may be notified by the Central Government".

On extending the deadline for linking new bank accounts, the government submitted that new bank accounts were being opened under schemes like the Jan Dhan Yojana and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and Aadhaar was being linked only for the objective of identification.

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The government submitted that new bank accounts were being opened under schemes like the Jan Dhan Yojana and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and Aadhaar was being linked only for the goal of identification. Aadhaar has been made mandatory for board exams, scholarships, noon meal programme, cremation of dead persons, higher education by the education boards and the University Grants Commission.

CJI Misra, however, observed that the court's earlier orders were passed based on the government's executive decision, and needed to be tested on anvils of the law, now that the Aadhaar Act is in place.

The top court referred all Aadhaar cases to the constitution bench on October 30.

Final hearing in the batch of petitions challenging various aspects of the scheme will commence on January 17, 2018.

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