New Delhi, December 7
The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that deadline for making Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of more than 130 schemes, including linking of bank accounts with the 12-digit unique identification number will be extended till March 31 next year.
The government will issue a notification to this effect on Friday, Attorney General KK Venugopal told a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
Venugopal, however, clarified that the deadline for mobile phone-Aadhaar linking will remain February 6, 2018 as ordered by the top court in another PIL on the ground that it was needed for national security.
CJI Misra said he would set up a Constitution Bench next week to hear petitions challenging Aadhaar scheme and decide if any interim orders were needed to be passed.
A nine-judge Constitution Bench had on August 24 declared right to privacy a fundamental right and said individual cases challenging the Aadhaar Act would be decided separately by a five-judge Constitution Bench.
As senior counsel Shyam Divan, representing petitioners, requested the court to ensure that no coercive action was taken against those not submitting the 12-digit unique biometric identification number, Venugopal said he was ready to argue and defend Aadhaar.
Attorney General opposed it, saying that in such a situation nobody would bother to submit Aadhaar.
Venugopal said a Data Protection Committee headed by former SC Judge BN Srikrishna was likely to submit its final report to the government by February next year.
The Supreme Court had on November 3 asked banks and mobile telecom service providers to inform their customers about the last date for linking of accounts and mobile numbers with Aadhaar.
A Bench headed by Justice AK Sikri had, however, refused to stay such linking, noting that all Aadhaar-related matters had already been sent to a Consitution Bench which would assemble much before the deadlines for Aadhaar linking for bank accounts and mobile phones.