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Supreme Court extends March 31 deadline of Aadhaar-linking till bench rules on Act

Supreme Court. Picture by Prem Singh

New Delhi, Mar. 13 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the March 31 deadline for linking Aadhaar with various services till the five-judge constitution bench delivers its judgment on petitions challenging the validity of the biometric scheme and the enabling law.

A five-judge constitution bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, 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 had earlier said that since the matter would have implications on financial institutions, such as banks and stock exchange, it would create a huge problem of compliance if the deadline was extended at the last moment.

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.

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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