New Delhi:
The Supreme Court on Tuesday indefinitely extended March 31 deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services. On December 15 last year, the apex court had extended till March 31 the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with various services and welfare schemes. 



Announcing the ruling, the top court said mandatory linking with bank , insurance accounts and mobile phones will stand extended 'indefinitely' till the judgement is pronounced. 


The five-bench constitution bench is hearing a bunch of petitions related to constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme. A five-judge Constitution bench of  Supreme Court, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan is currently hearing the Aadhaar matter. The deadline to link Aadhaar with bank accounts, mobile numbers and other services have been extended till the disposal of the case. 


The extension will also cover the issue of passports. The hearing in the matter will resume tomorrow.The Centre had last week indicated that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail various services and welfare schemes run by the government might be further extended beyond March 31.


The Centre said that since some more time would be needed to conclude the prolonged hearing in the Aadhaar case, the government may extend the deadline from March 31.


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


A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had on March 7 said it may not be possible to decide by March 31 the batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act.


The benchhad earlier 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..

On December 15 last year, the apex court had extended the deadline for linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phones to March 31.


However, the deadline for subsidies and benefits under Section 7 of the Constitution will stay as March 31, 2018.


Aadhaar opponents fell that the sensitive biometric data can be misused by the government agencies, others.


They had said that the Centre came out with the law in 2016 to negate the objection that it was collecting data since 2009 without any authorisation, but the issue which needed consideration was what would happen if the data collected earlier, had been compromised.


Currently, the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail the benefits of various welfare schemes is March 31. That includes as many as 135 schemes (of 35 ministries) including the free cooking gas (LPG), kerosene and fertilizer subsidy and targeted public distribution system (PDS).