The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended indefinitely its March 31 deadline for linking bank accounts and mobile phone numbers with Aadhaar. The ruling is seen as a relief to lakhs of people who have not yet linked their bank accounts and mobile phones with Aadhaar.
However, the top court said that the government can continue to seek the 12-digit national biometric identifier number of beneficiaries for transfer of benefits of schemes funded from the consolidated fund of India.
A five-judge Constitution bench of Supreme Court, containing Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan are presently hearing a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the biometric scheme and the enabling law.
The attorney general on March 6 indicated to the bench that the Centre was ready to postpone the March 31 deadline in view of the likelihood of the hearing getting prolonged.
The apex court on December 15 last year, had extended till March 31 the deadline for compulsory linking of Aadhaar with numerous services and welfare schemes.
1. “We direct that the interim order passed on December 15, 2017 shall stand extended till the matter is finally heard and the judgment is pronounced,” the court said.
2. The bench also ruled that Aadhaar will not be compulsory for getting Tatkal passports too.
3. The apex court’s directive on Tatkal passports issued after senior advocates Arvind Datar and Shyam Divan notified the bench that the government plans for new Passports (1st Amendment) Rules, 2018, by which Tatkal passports were issued only on furnishing Aadhaar.
4- Attorney General K K Venugopal, resembling for the Centre, said Aadhaar is being taken only for issuing Tatkal passports and not for normal passports.
“Police verification of an individual is done after he or she is issued a Tatakal passport and for that purpose, Aadhaar is being taken by the concerned authorities. In case of a normal passport, pre-police verification is being done and for that purpose, Aadhaar is not being taken,” Venugopal said.
5- The bench said an extension of the deadline for mandatory linkage of Aadhaar “shall also control and govern the Passports (1st Amendment) Rules, 2018”.