The petitioners challenging Aadhaar argue that the scheme, which requires the parting of biometric and personal details, is a coercive step and a stark violation of the ordinary citizen's fundamental right to privacy.
The five-judge bench also comprising justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, is hearing on day-to-day basis a string of petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.
The Supreme Court said, "SC extends March 31 deadline for Aadhaar linkages till the constitution bench delivers judgement on the matter", adding, "The government can not insist for mandatory Aadhaar even for the issuance of Tatkal passport".
As Chief Justice Misra said that their interim order stands extended, the Attorney General told the court that the government was prepared to extend the deadline in the last week of March as arguments in the matter would have concluded by then.
For many of us March 31 was looming large over our heads - what with us having to link many of our essential services with our Aadhaar.
The court also directed that its interim order "shall also control and govern the Passports (1st Amendment) Rules, 2018" which insisted on Aadhaar identification for getting passports under the "Tatkal" scheme. The deadline was said to be on March 31, 2018, but the court today said that the deadline is extended indefinitely, meaning there's no deadline until Supreme Court states it again.
Another concern expressed by the activists is regarding the weaknesses in the system that have made this database highly vulnerable to data breaches, as several hacks and public leaks have been recorded in the past. Now the Constitution bench has clearly said the deadline will be decided only after the court passes its final judgment on linking the Aadhaar to various services.
There's a good news for those who were fretting over linking their Aadhaar number with their bank or mobile numbers.