Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Indian court extends March 31 deadline for linking of biometric IDs

Indian court extends March 31 deadline for linking of biometric IDs

"Notwithstanding judicial scrutiny and government's well-intentioned moves, the banks, particularly those in the PSUs, may find it hard to complete the task of linking Aadhaar with the accounts of all the customers by March 31, 2018", Assocham said in a statement. The new deadline hasn't been announced as the apex court is yet to pass judgement on existing Aadhaar related cases.

The March 13 order is more or less identical to the interim order passed on December 15, 2017 except for the fact that March 31, 2018 continues to be the deadline for linking Aadhaar to subsidies, benefits and services prescribed under Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act of 2016.

While the biometric database was launched in 2009 under the Congress-led UPA, the Narendra Modi movernment has been steadily mandating the use of Aadhaar for availing wide range of services including filing income tax, registration of mobile phone numbers as well as welfare, pension and employment schemes.

Aadhaar will be necessary only for social schemes, the top court, which is hearing a bunch of petitions that have challenged the validity of the 12-digit number, reportedly said.

It is unclear at the moment, however, whether banks or telecom service providers can insist that customers produce evidence of having applied for an Aadhaar number. The deadline was said to be on March 31, 2018, but the court today said that the deadline is extended indefinitely, meaning there's no deadline until Supreme Court states it again.

The court's order however is not applicable to the deadline for subsidies and benefits under Section 7 of the Aadhaar act.

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 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. 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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