The Supreme Court has extended the March 31 deadline for linking Aadhaar to various government schemes, as well as mobile phones and bank accounts indefinitely – till a final judgement is made on the validity of the biometric identity card.

Today, on March 13, a five-bench constitutional bench of Supreme Court, headed by CJI Dipak Misra heard for the plea of petitioners challenging Aadhaar card’s validity for extension of the deadline of Aadhaar linking, which was March 31. In its order, the apex court ruled that the deadlines for linking to the Unique Identification number stand extended till it decides on its validity. So mandatory linking Aadhaar card with any of government welfare schemes, banks and essential services like banking and phone has been ruled out and the deadline has been extended indefinitely, until a final judgement is made. This development comes as a major relief for those who haven’t linked their Aadhaar yet.

The decision was made by the Supreme Court bench as implications of mandating Aadhaar on financial institutions like banks and stock exchange can create a huge problem of compliance if the deadline was extended at the last moment. Which means, citizens of India will now have enough or rather more than enough time to link their mobile number, bank accounts and other institutions till Constitutional Bench hears the matter. Also, the apex court has ordered that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for issuing Tatkal passport.

However, the order will not apply to the deadline for subsidies and benefits under Section 7. Which means, the indefinite deadline extension order ruled today will not be applicable in cases where subsidies are given by the government. Which means, for all the government schemes where subsidies and benefits are given, the deadline for linking Aadhaar Card remains unchanged to March 31, 2018. Perhaps, other than those, the order makes it clear that one does not have to link it until the Supreme Court passes its verdict in the case. So yes, you can continue to ignore those Aadhaar linking text messages.

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