'Deadline for linking Aadhaar with government schemes is now Dec 31'
New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) The Centre told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the deadline for linking Aadhaar to various government schemes for benefits will be extended till December 31.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar said the challenge to the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme would be heard in the first week of November.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the court that the existing deadline of September 30 would be extended by three months.
Venugopal made the statement after senior counsel Shyam Divan, appearing for a batch of petitioners, including former Karnataka High Court judge Justice K.S. Puttaswamy, said that if the government was inclined to extend the deadline, then the matter could be heard in November.
The hearing on the challenge to the validity of Aadhaar is the next step after the top court by its August 24 verdict declared that the right to privacy was a fundamental right.
Even in the course of the hearing by the nine-judge bench on the nature of the right to privacy, it was made clear that the bench would only decide on the correctness or otherwise of the judgments pronounced in 1954 by an eight-judge bench and in 1962 by a six-judge bench that the right to privacy was not a fundamental right.
The court had said that after it had decided whether right to privacy was a fundamental right or not, then a regular bench would examine the challenge to Aadhaar scheme on the grounds of its being violative of the right to privacy.
Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, who was on the bench of nine judges, had in his judgment said that the challenge to the validity of Aadhaar on the grounds of its being violative of the right to privacy would be adjudicated by the original bench of three judges in the light of the decision elevating right to privacy as a fundamental right.
It was contended that the State could not insist on the citizens to part with their personal data including iris scan and finger prints.
The top court bench of Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice C. Nagappan had on August 11, 2015 referred to a larger bench the question whether privacy was a fundamental right or not.
The three judge bench referred the matter to the larger bench after the Centre contended that a bench of eight judges in 1954 and subsequently of six judges in 1962 had held that right to privacy was not a fundamental right.
However, from the mid-70s onwards, the benches of two or three judge strength consistently held that right to privacy was a fundamental right.