March 31 Aadhaar linking deadline can be extended, Centre tells SC

New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that if required it might consider extending the March 31 deadline for linking Aadhaar to various government schemes as well as mobile phones and bank accounts.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra hearing a bunch of petitions against the Aadhaar law that the Centre had extended the deadline in the past too and it can do so again.

“If required, we can do it again,” Venugopal said after petitioners challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme sought an extension of the deadline to link the 12-digit unique identity number with various government schemes and services.

The petitioners said the deadline was nearing and the case was unlikely to be decided by March 31.

On December 15 last year, the apex court had directed the extension of deadline till March 31 for the linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phones.

The constitution bench is hearing challenges to the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme on the touchstone of the fundamental right to privacy on a bunch of petitions by former Karnataka High Court Judge K.S. Puttuswamy, Magsaysay awardee Shanta Sinha, feminist researcher Kalyani Sen Menon and others.