The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a clarification from the government whether it would force people to link bank accounts and mobile numbers to their 12-digit Aadhar, a controversial move that has raised privacy concerns in India.
A bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra sought the clarification after attorney general KK Venugopal said the government was willing to extend the deadline for the mandatory linking from December 31 to March 31 next year, but only for those who do not have Aadhaar or “are willing to enroll”.
The top court is hearing a raft of petitions challenging the government’s move which has raised privacy concerns, especially after recent massive leak of citizens details – including mobile numbers and bank details.
“We (Centre) have decided to extend it till March 31, 2018,” Attorney General K K Venugopal told the bench, which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.
The petitioners challenging the Centre’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for welfare schemes termed the linking of the identity number with bank accounts and mobile numbers as illegal and unconstitutional, while one of their lawyers strongly objected to the CBSE’s move to make it mandatory for students to appear for exams.
Venugopal told the court that no coercive action would be taken against those who do not have Aadhaar but were willing to enrol for it and added that they would not be denied the benefits of social welfare schemes till March 31 next year.