NEW DELHI: Centre on Thursday said the deadline for linking Aadhaar with all schemes and services, including bank accounts, has been extended to March 31.
Attorney General K K Venugopal informed the Supreme Court that the government was willing to postpone the stipulated date for linking the 12-digit biometric identifier with various services, from government welfare schemes, mobile numbers and financial dealings.
However, Centre said Aadhaar or application for enrolling for Aadhaar will continue to be mandatory for opening new bank accounts.
This comes a day after the government extended by three months the deadline for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar and Permanent Account Number (PAN) for bank accounts and certain financial transactions. The deadline for existing bank account holders to furnish Aadhaar was initially December 31, 2017.
The Supreme Court was listening to a bunch of pleas seeking an interim stay on the Centre’s decision directing mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various government schemes and welfare measures.
When the bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud suggested that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with mobile phones be extended, the Centre agreed to defer the final date from the existing February 6 to March 31, 2018.
A five-judge constitution bench of Supreme Court headed by CJI Dipak Misra will pronounce interim order on Aadhaar applicability on Friday.
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”.
Following this, March 31, 2018 was notified as the fresh deadline for linking the Aadhaar and PAN to existing bank accounts.
The government had earlier said failure to submit Aadhaar number and PAN within the stipulated timelines would mean that the account “will cease to be operational till the time the Aadhaar number and Permanent Account Number is submitted by the client”.
Some petitioners in the top court have termed the linking of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) number with bank accounts and mobile numbers as “illegal and unconstitutional”.
One of the counsel representing the petitioners had earlier said that final hearing on the main Aadhaar matter was necessary as the government “cannot compel” citizens to link their Aadhaar with either bank accounts or cell phone numbers.
(With PTI inputs)
Source : timesofindia