The deadline for mandatory linkage of biometric identity Aadhaar card to avail various government services and government welfare scheme might get further extended beyond March 31, 2018 – as per the indications of the Government in Supreme Court.

Aadhaar and Aadhaar linking seems to be getting “aadhaarless” as the government is continuously rolling out new deadlines and once again, the government of India has indicated in the Supreme Court that it might be extended beyond March 31. Earlier, when the government had extended the deadline for linking Aadhaar card in December 2017, the government had said that it will be the final extension and there will be no scope for any further extension. All service providers and government-related scheme providers had been deliberately pushing their customers to link Aadhaar card with various documents in order to avail government-based services and welfare schemes; and continue using the SIM cards.

However, here we are, knowing that the Aadhaar linking deadline might get extended beyond March 31 once again. The indication of possibility of deadline extension was made after the petitioners challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar had requested for an extension and attorney general K K Venugopal said the constitutional bench that the Centre has extended the deadline in past and it can be done again. The five-judge constitutional bench of Supreme Court, including Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan had agreed upon the suggestion laid out by Venugopal.

Hence, on Tuesday, the Centre said that since more time will be required to conclude the hearing of Aadhaar case, the government may think about extending the deadline date further beyond March 31, 2018. Even if the Supreme Court makes final decision before March 31, organisations across the country will be left with just few days – which would be insufficient for ramification of banks and other institutes in India. So yeah, just sit back and relax, Aadhaar still has a long way to go before it actually become ‘mandatory’ in India.

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