Deadline for linking Aadhaar with welfare schemes extended to June 30
The deadline now stands extended to June 30, 2018, according to an office memorandum of the ministry of electronics and IT.Updated: Mar 28, 2018 23:11 IST
The government on Wednesday extended until June 30 the deadline for linking Aadhaar numbers with welfare schemes in which benefits are transferred to citizens from the Consolidated Fund of India.
An office memorandum of the ministry of electronics and information technology, issued on December 7 last year, said the linking must be done by March 31. The fresh memorandum on Wednesday referred to the earlier order and said the deadline now may be read as June 30.
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday declined to issue any direction to extend the deadline.
A plea was made before a Constitution bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra after the CEO of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Ajay Bhushan Pandey, told the court that 88% of those eligible for benefits had authenticated their Aadhaar numbers.
Senior advocate KV Vishwanathan, appearing for one of the petitioners, said it meant 12% had not, and argued that almost 140 million citizens would be denied benefits and services linked with the 12-digit unique identity number. He urged the bench to extend the deadline for linking of Aadhaar for welfare schemes.
But the bench said it would not pass an order, though it said Vishwanathan could present his argument in a rejoinder submission.
On March 13, the top court had extended the March 31 deadline for linking Aadhaar numbers with bank accounts and mobile phones until a verdict was given in a bunch of cases challenging Aadhaar’s validity being heard by the Constitution bench.
Advocate Vipin Nair, a lawyer for another petitioner in Aadhaar case, said Wednesday’s government order was necessary because not extending the deadline for social welfare schemes would “alienate” those living in the rural areas.
“The Supreme Court had allowed an indefinite extension for linking Aadhaar to mobile phones and bank accounts, but the same was not extended for welfare schemes under section 7, which includes MNREGA (rural employment guarantee scheme), cash transfer for food security, and benefits under the mid-day meal scheme,” he said.
“The extension of deadline for linking of Aadhaar for welfare schemes is a right step in the right direction as the Supreme Court is yet to rule on the whole Aadhaar issue,” said Pavan Duggal, a Supreme Court advocate and an expert on cyber laws.
First Published: Mar 28, 2018 18:59 IST