The government said on Wednesday that the December 31 deadline for linking every bank account to Aadhaar can be pushed to the end of March. The top court will today decide if that's fine -- or if the deadline should depend on when it delivers its verdict on whether enforcing citizens to disclose Aadhaar details is a violation of their rights.
The top court is hearing a number of petitions that have challenged the validity of the 12-digit Unique Identification Number and the government's move to make it mandatory. The five-judge bench which is hearing the case, said it would pass an interim order on the issue today.
For people who do not have the 12-digit Unique Identification number yet, the deadline had been extended to March 31 last week.For linking Aadhaar to cellphone Sim, the Centre has left the decision to the Supreme Court - the current deadline is February 6, 2018.
Activists have challenged the validity of Aadhaar, claiming that making Aadhar linking mandatory violates the Right to Privacy, which has recently been recognised by the Supreme Court as a fundamental right. The largescale sharing of biometric data like iris scans and finger printing also leaves room for misuse, they have contended.
During Thursday morning's hearing, senior advocate Shyam Dhivan, who was representing the petitioners, told the judges that the government has expanded the use of Aadhaar and made it mandatory despite an earlier ruling by the Supreme Court.
The court, the advocate said, had made Aadhaar voluntary, not compulsory. But government had passed a law to make it mandatory for accessing any service -- including train and bus travel. Moreover, instead of sticking to the court's order of making it mandatory for six schemes, the government had made it compulsory for 139 schemes.