SC Orders Banks, Telcos to inform customers of last date for linking Aadhaar

Today, the Supreme Court tagged the four new petitions brought before it with the other pending Aadhaar cases. All the petitions will be heard by a Constitution Bench, possibly by end of November. The Court assured the petitioners that if the matter is not heard at the end of November, it would consider issuing interim orders to stay the linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile services. For now, it issued directions that messages from telcos and bank accounts must specify the deadline for linking Aadhaar, which remain unchanged as December 31 for bank accounts and Feb 6 for mobile services.

Some media reports suggest that the deadlines have been extended. This is not the case. The confusion arises from an affidavit submitted by the government to the Supreme Court where the government stated that the deadline for linking bank accounts may be extended but has issued no instruction or notification to that effect.

Senior advocates representing the petitioners brought to the Court’s attention that telcos and banks were sending threatening messages on a daily basis. The Attorney-General claimed that these were only oral assertions by the petitioners, to which Justice Sikri replied "We all know what's happening, we are getting these messages too." We hope that the honourable judges will pull up the government for similarly misrepresenting the ground realities of Aadhaar-linked welfare programmes. In Jharkhand alone, the failure of the Aadhaar-PDS ecosystem has resulted in two starvation deaths, as reported recently.

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Advisory after today's Hearings

Are you also wondering:

What transpired in court today? Are we now forced to link Aadhaar to everything? What happens next?

Linking to Aadhaar still has a deadline of 31.12.2017 for banks and 06.02.2018 for mobiles.

But hold on! Don’t want to do it? Read on.

The Supreme Court has indicated that it will start hearing final arguments in all Aadhaar cases by the end of this month. Also there is a good chance these deadlines specially bank linking will be extended. The government is on the back foot & has already indicated that they may defer it to March 31, 2017.

So what should you do?

Hold on till the end of the month. If the Supreme Court starts hearing the Aadhaar cases we may not even need to link Aadhaar. It may even go away completely.

But what if the hearings do not start?

Lawyers will go back to Court and ask for a stay. The Supreme Court today indicated that the reason it was not hearing the stay applications was because the final hearing is at the end of the month.

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