Government hints at new Aadhaar deadline

By: ABP News Bureau
Updated: 07 Mar 2018 09:59 AM
NEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday assured the Supreme Court that the government was open to extending beyond March 31 the deadline for linking Aadhaar cards with bank accounts and mobile phones.

The deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail various services and welfare schemes run by the government may be further extended beyond March 31, the Centre told the court.


"We have extended the deadline in the past too. We can do it again. Let's see how the hearing proceeds. If required, we can do it again," attorney-general K.K. Venugopal told a five-judge constitution bench.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, is dealing with a slew of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar law.

The attorney-general gave the assurance during the closing hours of the day's hearing in response to pleas made by senior advocates who felt the hearing might extend beyond March 31.

Although not officially stated, there are indications that the deadline could be extended till May 31 or even beyond as the hearing of the case may go on for another month. Thereafter, such benches usually reserve the judgment. The verdict may be pronounced a month later or in July after the summer vacation.

A five-judge Constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan agreed with the contention of Attorney General K K Venugopal.

"We have extended the deadline in the past and we will extend the deadline again but we may do it by the end of month to enable the petitioners in the case conclude the arguments," Venugopal said.

The bench said, "It is a very valid point raised by the Attorney General and the court would not allow repetitive arguments made by the petitioners' counsel in the matter."

(With inputs from The Telegraph Calcutta)
         
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