As Aadhaar linking deadline nears, Centre's top legal officer hints at respite

The deadline for Aadhaar linkage may get extended beyond 31st March 2018

The issue related to extension of deadline came up during the hearing of another petition in which the court directed the CBSE not to mandatorily seek Aadhaar number from students for enrolling themselves for appearing in NEET-18 examination.

A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, accepted the Centre's contention that students may instead submit their passport, driving licence, bank account, Voters identity or ration card as proof of identity.

The hearing saw Justice Chandrachud telling the government that the deadline on linking of Aadhaar with various schemes including bank accounts and income tax returns concerned the entire financial system and people could not live in uncertainty over extension of deadline. The five-judge bench passed this as an interim order.

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One, Abid Ali Patel, from Gujarat has moved the apex court seeking to stay on the orders of CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education). The current deadline was extended back in December 2017 as the original deadline was February 6, 2018, for mobile numbers. The AG had earlier said the deadline could be extended if the court hearing on validity of Aadhaar spilled over to April.

The Supreme Court has asked the government to take a decision on the deadline Aadhaar with essential services soon. It is a violation of apex court's order.

The Centre today clarified that Aadhar is not required for NEET 2018. "Even UCO bank in SC premises refused to take fixed deposit of senior advocate Shyam Divan for want of Aadhaar".

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The petitioners said the deadline was nearing and the case was unlikely to be decided by 31 March.

"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", said Attorney General K.K. Venugopal.

Explaining the rationale behind CBSE asking for identity for enrolment of students appearing for NEET or other all-India examination, Attorney General K K Venugopal said it was to curb large-scale impersonation. He will resume his arguments on Wednesday.

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