The Supreme Court on Friday extended the deadline for the mandatory linking of Aadhaar to mobile phones and bank accounts to 31 March. The five-judge bench of the top court accepted the central government’s suggestions. The order is, however, an an interim till the court decides the constitutional validity of of Aadhaar being made mandatory for welfare schemes and financial transactions, like getting a loan or filing taxes. The court will start hearings on whether mandatory linking of Aadhaar violates the constitutional rights to privacy from 17 January onwards.
A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court had earlier this year declared the right to privacy a fundamental right. A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in an interim order, also modified its earlier order with regard to linking of Aadhaar with mobile services and said the deadline of February 6 next year for this purpose also stood extended till March 31. The bench, which also comprised Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, said that for opening new bank accounts, an applicant will not be required to provide Aadhaar number to the bank. However, the applicant will have to show the proof to the bank that he/she has applied for the Aadhaar number, Justice Chandrachud, who wrote the unanimous interim order, said.