Throwing a spanner in the government's plans to make Aadhaar mandatory for operating bank accounts, holding phone connections and applying for tatkaal passports, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Tuesday said the government "cannot insist" that citizens must provide Aadhaar details to avail these services.
However, as Bar and Bench reports, the court has given its go-ahead to the government to make Aadhaar linkage mandatory for availing services where subsidies are provided under section 7 by the government.
This order will not apply in cases where subsidies are given by the Government. Consumers have time to link their Mobile number, Banks and other institutions till Constitutional Bench hears the matter.— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) March 13, 2018
The apex court which had earlier on December 15, 2017, extended the deadline till March 31 has now extended this deadline indefinitely. In its order the Supreme Court bench also consisting of Justices AK Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan said that the "mandatory" Aadhaar linking of with bank accounts and mobile phones will stand extended indefinitely till the final judgment is pronounced.
Supreme Court says mandatory #Aadhaar linking with bank accounts and mobile phones will stand extended indefinitely till the judgement is pronounced pic.twitter.com/X8ZzrcjMBC— ANI (@ANI) March 13, 2018
The five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, said the government cannot insist for mandatory #Aadhaar— ANI (@ANI) March 13, 2018
Today's ruling comes after the court started hearing the matter again on March 6 after a group had approached it in December opposing the mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts, phone numbers and other services. The government, in its defence, had insisted on quoting Aadhaar for bank deposits for obtaining mobile phone and several other utilities to weed out corruption and tighten its grip on the black money floating in the country.
This order will come as an embarrassing blow for the government, which had given directions to banks and telecom operators to ensure linking of Aadhaar to crores of subscribers. On the other hand, today's order comes as a shot in the arm for those who have expressed reservations and argued against the need for compliance.
Also read: I'm surprised Modi, like Indira Gandhi, has ensured Doordarshan remains biased and boring