Supreme Court Indefinitely Extends March 31 Mandatory Aadhaar Linkage Deadline

Supreme Court Indefinitely Extends March 31 Mandatory Aadhaar Linkage Deadline

Attorney General KK Venugopal said Aadhaar would be essential for availing social security benefits, services and subsidies and accordingly the Bench granted exemption for these benefits. He also prayed that the Court extend the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with several schemes.

On December 15 a year ago, the apex court had extended till March 31 the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes.


The order came as senior counsel Arvind Datar, appearing for one of the petitioners, told the court that passport issuing authorities have made submission of Aadhaar mandatory for issuance of passports. The top court said the government can not insist on providing Aadhaar, even to issue Tatkal passports. If the latest order does indeed exclude Aadhaar linkages mandated under Section 7, a large number of Central and State Government schemes (such as PDS, LPG, MNREGA and many more) would still need to be linked to Aadhaar by the end of the month, significantly diminishing the relief brought by today's order. This would mean that the March 31 deadline will no longer apply. The bench, which also comprised justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, had earlier said that since the matter would have implications on financial institutions, like banks and stock exchange, it would create a huge problem of compliance if the deadline was extended at the last moment. The designated bank branches should cater to people for Aadhaar enrollment and update, even if they do not have an account with that particular branch.

Following the unearthing of the massive fraud at Punjab National Bank and a few other banks, the PSBs are anyway fire-fighting to protect their core business and hard pressed for human and other resources required to take up the job of Aadhaar linkage, it explained. According to the government, that's 99 per cent of the country's adult population.

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