No stay on linkage with mobile, bank accounts

SC refuses interim stay on linking of Aadhaar to mobiles bank accounts

The Supreme Court today sought the government's response on four petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act and linking of bank accounts and mobile numbers with the 12-digit biometric identification number.

The court did not rule on the pleas themselves, sending them to a constitution bench that is already hearing several petitions regarding the mandatory use of Aadhaar.

February 6 2018 will be the last date to link Aadhaar with mobile, the Centre has said. "I do not want to say in the presence of media but I am also receiving such messages", he said in a lighter vein.

The bench ordered telcos and banks not to create panic among people and asked them to specify in the messages that the deadline for Aadhaar-bank account linkage is December 31 and February 6 for mobile phones.

The apex court made the aforementioned observations after the matter came up before it following a petition by Karnataka's Mathew Thomas who had challenged the validity of the Aadhaar Act on the basis that it violates the Right to Privacy.

The bench, however, said the petitioners can raise this issue before the court which would hear all Aadhaar-related matters in the last week of November.

The Centre further added that the 12-digit number and the mobile number must be linked within the stipulated time frame since a decision like extending the deadline can not be extended unilaterally.

The directive was passed by a bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra after it was informed by the Centre of its unwillingness to extend the deadline for linking Aadhaar to various schemes to 31 March and requesting a hearing instead. "For existing account holders, the deadline for Aadhaarbased verification is being extended to March 31 and no coercive action will be taken till then", the Centre's affidavit added.

The top court recently ruled that privacy is a "guaranteed fundamental right" which the petitioners are citing to build their case.

In addition, the Centre has now extended the deadline to link Aadhaar with bank accounts from December 31, 2017 to March 31, 2018.

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