Indian court extends March 31 deadline for linking of biometric IDs

Sergio Conner
March 13, 2018

Government's order of mandatory linking Aadhaar card with various services including Bank Accounts, SIM card among others till March 31 was given an extension by Supreme Court on Tuesday indefinitely.

The apex court is now in the process of hearing a clutch of petitions that challenge the validity of the Aadhaar scheme.

In wake of the March-31 deadline, banks, and mobile service providers have been repeatedly calling and messaging customers to link the 12-digit Aadhaar number to avail the uninterrupted services.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra extended the deadline after the Centre said it had already submitted that they were ready to extend the March 31 deadline for linking of the national biometric identifier with all services and welfare schemes.

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The extension will be applicable for all schemes and services except in cases where subsidy is to be claimed from the schemes covered by Section 7 of Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.

In January, Aadhaar was made mandatory not only for the renewal of passport, but also for new passports issued within three days under the tatkaal category - an order that has been challenged by activist Vrinda Grover.

Aadhaar, the world's biggest biometric database, was introduced by the Manmohan Singh government in 2009 to streamline welfare payments and reduce pilferage by the unscrupulous. The data disclosed with linking the Aadhaar to every service has exhibited a person's full profile comprising of spending habits, friends, and other private information, in public domain.

In response, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Wednesday announced the establishment of a new security system, whereby Aadhaar number holders do not have to submit their unique IDs to verify their details when applying for specific services. Justice Chandrachud, too, had pointed out that even if the court reserved its verdict on March 20, the banks and other institution would have only 10 days left, which might be hard.

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