Supreme Court refuses to extend March 31 as Aadhaar linking deadline

Aadhaar card row After Alphons taunt UIDAI chief hits back invokes US

The government on Tuesday extended the deadline for linking Aadhaar with PAN for the fourth time by three more months, till June 30. The order came four days ahead of the income tax return filing deadline, March 31.

A plea, seeking extension of time beyond 31 March for linking Aadhaar with welfare schemes, was made today before a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra after Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), concluded his PowerPoint presentation (PPT), claiming it would take "billions of years" to decrypt the saved data, including the biometrics.

During the proceedings, the government had told the Supreme Court that if required it might consider extending the March 31 deadline for linking Aadhaar to various government schemes as well as mobile phones and bank accounts.

The extension was also allowed for the mandatory requirement of Aadhaar for Tatkal passports.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, however, opposed the demand, saying the authentication failures did not mean rejection of those deserving benefits and added, "there has not been a single case of rejection". Aadhaar card is being used for identity authentication across banks, telecom companies, public distribution system, income tax among others. Justice Chandrachud expressed concern over possible misuse of user data that may be available with Aadhaar authentication centres.

In a statement issued here, UIDAI, the Aadhaar-issuing body, said: "there is no truth in this story as there has been absolutely no breach of UIDAIs Aadhaar database". Even the authenticating agencies were not connected directly to the Central Identities Data Repository, he said.

Earlier, Pandey, making a presentation on the security and technical aspects of Aadhaar told the court, "Aadhaar is privacy by design and biometric is not shared with anybody except for purposes of national security".

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