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The will-it-won’t-it situation surrounding Aadhaar linking has taken a new turn. The five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Mr. Dipak Misra, has just released a statement saying that the government cannot insist on mandatory Aadhaar linking for all Indians.

So far, we knew that the deadline for linking Aadhaar with important documents such as one’s PAN card, bank account, Ration Card etc. was the 31st of March, 2018. However, this deadline has now been extended indefinitely until the disposal of the lawsuit regarding Aadhaar linking in the Supreme Court.

This development comes as a major relief for all those Aadhaar holders who were yet to link their Aadhaar number with services. The fear of not being able to use a bank account, or a PAN card, because it wasn’t linked to Aadhaar, has caused many people sleepless nights, while also creating a long drawn out discussion on whether Aadhaar linking violated one’s fundamental rights to privacy. The special bench constituted in the Supreme Court to look into the matter had earlier urged the government to clarify its stand regarding Aadhaar and if the deadline could be extended beyond March 31. The Centre, on Tuesday, March 13th 2018, told the court that the deadline can be extended beyond March 31.

There is now an indefinite extension for linking of various services with Aadhaar until the Supreme Court bench delivers its judgment on the constitutional validity of the biometrical identification scheme.

The SC also said its interim order which devolves the need for Aadhaar, except for giving services and subsidies under section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, will remain in force till a final conclusion is reached.

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