In a big relief to India’s middle-class population, the Supreme Court on Tuesday extended indefinitely the mandatory linkage of Aadhaar to banks account and mobile phones.
A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court extended the deadline of 31 March till the disposal of petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016. The top court, however, said that the indefinite extension did not apply to those available government schemes.
The government’s decision to implement the mandatory linkage of Aadhaar to bank accounts and mobile phones had evoked angry reactions from civil rights activists, who argued that the step was an infringement on citizens’ privacy.
The Supreme Court last year had ruled that the right to privacy was a fundamental right of every citizen of India. The apex court in December had extended the deadline for the mandatory linking of Aadhaar to mobile phones and bank accounts to 31 March.
Several deaths have been reported from cross India as poverty-stricken individuals failed to get government ration in the absence of Aadhaar numbers. In a sensational development earlier this year, the the deputy director of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had filed an FIR against The Tribune newspaper and its reporter Rachna Khaira for reporting that Aadhaar numbers were up for sale for few hundred rupees.