The Supreme Court passed an order on 13th March 2018 extended the deadline for linking Aadhaar cards to services, such as bank accounts and mobile phone connections, from March 31 till it decides on petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.
This was ordered by a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and including Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.
The Supreme stated that that its interim order of December 15, 2017, fixing the March deadline, “shall stand extended till the matter is finally heard and the judgment is pronounced”.
It was made clear in the Supreme Court’s order that the direction shall also apply to the Tatkal passport scheme for which Aadhaar had been mandated.
In other words, the Passports (1st Amendment) Rules, 2018 will also be eligible for the aadhaar deadline extension.
However, the extension will not disturb the disbursement of subsidies under Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act.
Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act states: “…the Central Government or, as the case may be, the State Government may, for the purpose of establishing identity of an individual as a condition for receipt of a subsidy, benefit or service for which the expenditure is incurred from, or the receipt therefrom forms part of, the Consolidated Fund of India, require that such individual undergo authentication, or furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number or in the case of an individual to whom no Aadhaar number has been assigned, such individual makes an application for enrolment:
Provided that if an Aadhaar number is not assigned to an individual, the individual shall be offered alternate and viable means of identification for delivery of the subsidy, benefit or service.”
The Government said the Centre was prepared for the extension when the deadline ends by March-end.
The Supreme Court’s order also made it clear that the guidelines contained in the December order, allowing those who did not have Aadhaar cards yet to furnish the number of their Aadhaar applications for opening bank accounts, will continue to operate.
The interim order of the Supreme Court had stated that the extension would cover “the schemes of the Ministries/Departments of the Union government to all state governments in similar terms”. This will also remain in force.