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March 31 deadline to link bank accounts with Aadhaar extended till SC verdict

Tuesday March 13, 2018 9:53 PM, & Agencies

Aadhar Linking

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the March 31 deadline for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts, mobile phones and other services till the five-judge constitution bench delivers its judgement on petitions challenging the validity of the biometric scheme and the enabling law.

The SC decision came amid panic all across that the bank accounts might be seized after March 31. This led to large scale cash withdrawals leading ATMs in many cities without cash.

The government had introduced Aadhaar, now the world's biggest biometric database, in 2009 and later made it mandatory to link Aadhaar with welfare schemes, as well as essential services like banking and phone, insisting that it was necessary to weed out benami deals and black money. The Centre was also planning to make it mandatory to link Aadhaar card with driving licence and voter ID cards, among other things.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had on March 7 said it may not be possible to decide by March 31 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, according to PTI.

On December 15 last year, the apex court had extended till March 31 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 February 22 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, PTI reported Tuesday.

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.

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