The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the 31 March deadline for linking Aadhaar with various services till the five-judge constitution bench delivers its judgement on petitions challenging the validity of the biometric scheme and the enabling law.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra had on 7 March said it may not be possible to decide by 31 March the batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act.
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.
On 15 December last year, the apex court had extended till 31 March the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes. Former Karnataka high court judge Justice K.S. Puttaswamy had told the apex court on 22 February that several deaths had reportedly taken place due to starvation on account of glitches in the Aadhaar-based public distribution system and the court must consider granting them compensation.
Earlier, the top court had observed that the alleged defect of citizens’ biometric details under the Aadhaar scheme being collected without any law could be cured by subsequently bringing in a statute. It had said that the centre came out with the law in 2016 to negate the objection that it was collecting data since 2009 without any authorisation, but the issue which needed consideration was what would happen if the data collected earlier, had been compromised.