The Centre’s Narendra Modi government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the deadline for the mandatory linkage of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phones could be extended in view of prolonged hearing on the matter in the top court.
“We have extended the deadline in the past and we will extend the deadline again but we may do it by the end of month to enable the petitioners in the case conclude the arguments,” Venugopal was quoted as saying.
The five-judge constitution bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan agreed with the contention of Attorney General KK Venugopal.
The bench said, “It is a very valid point raised by the Attorney General and the court would not allow repetitive arguments made by the petitioners’ counsel in the matter.”
This comes after senior lawyer Shyam Divan, who had led the arguments challenging Aadhaar and its enabling Act, had asked for the extension of the 31 March deadline. Divan had argued that it was highly unlikely that the hearing in the case challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act will be concluded.
The government has decided to make the linking of Aadhaar numbers to bank accounts and mobile numbers mandatory. But the decision has been challenged in the Supreme Court. The deadline for mandatory linkage has now been extended to 31 March, 2018.
The Supreme Court, in its recent judgement, had declared that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution. Several petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar had claimed it violated privacy rights.