Aadhaar linking: Decide soon on deadline, don't create uncertainty, SC to Centre

Justice Chandrachud said even if the court reserved its verdict on 20 March the banks and other institution would have only 10 days left which might be difficult

The Supreme Court on Wednesday made it clear that Aadhaar card is not mandatory for students appearing in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (for medical and dental admissions) in the country and that they can produce other means of identity, viz ration card, voter identity card, driving licence, passport and bank passbook.

The bench, which also comprised justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, said that since the matter would have implications on financial institutions, like banks and stock exchange, it would create a huge problem of compliance if the deadline was extended at the last moment.

"Like in Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya and Assam, other ID proofs can be given for exam", said Attorney General KK Venugopal.

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 petitioners said the deadline was nearing and the case was unlikely to be decided by 31 March. Meanwhile, the apex court is in middle of hearing a constitutional challenge to Aadhaar it's mandatory linking with various services including banking and mobile services.

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On extending the linkage of Aadhaar for various services beyond March 31, the AG said though the government was willing to extend, it would argue on this point.

This comes after senior lawyer Shyam Divan, who had led the arguments challenging Aadhaar and its enabling Act, had asked for the extension of the 31 March deadline. This is the third time that the Aadhaar linking deadline has been extended.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal initially tried to reason that the Supreme Court orders on the voluntary nature of Aadhaar preceded the Aadhaar Act of 2016.

Earlier in the day, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had told the top court that it has not authorised CBSE to mandatorily take Aadhaar number of students to get themselves enrolled for appearing in NEET 2018 examination.

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