An apex court bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, also comprising of Justices A. K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, Dr. D. Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, passed this interim order after accepting the Centre's suggestions on a batch of petitions related to the issue.
The government had earlier set a deadline of December 31 for Aadhaar-linking.
The interim order will be in effect till the Supreme Court decides whether linking of Aadhaar violates the constitutional right to privacy, or not. Final hearing on the constitutional validity of Aadhaar linking is set to begin on January 17.
The main petitioner in the case is 91-year-old Justice (Retired) K.S. Puttaswamy.
Attorney General of India K. K. Venugopal told the Supreme Court that "the Union government has extended the deadline for Aadhaar linkage with all schemes of its ministries/departments until 31 March 2018. As far as Aadhaar linkage with bank accounts is concerned, for existing bank accounts, the last date for the completion of the process may be extended to 31 March 2018."
The court accepted the Centre's suggestion and ordered accordingly.
For new bank accounts, Venugopal suggested the court that "in so far as new bank accounts are concerned, while the last date for completing the process of Aadhaar linking may be extended until 31 March 2018, persons desirous to open new accounts shall produce proof to the bank of an application having been submitted for obtaining an Aadhaar card together with the application number which shall be supplied to the account opening bank".
In this regard, the court ordered: "Subject to the submission of the details in regard to the filing of an application for an Aadhaar card and the furnishing of the application number to the account opening bank, we likewise extend the last date for the completion of the process of Aadhaar linking of new bank accounts to 31 March 2018".
On the issue of linking mobile phone numbers with Aadhaar, the Attorney General of India told the court that "as regards Aadhaar-based E-KYC for mobile phone subscribers, consistent with the extension of the deadline to 31 March 2018 in other cases, this Court may consider passing appropriate orders."
The court agreed and passed the order that "we extend the date for the completion of the E-KYC process in respect of mobile phone subscribers until 31 March 2018".
The bench also said, "Consistent with the above directions, we also direct that the extension of the last date for Aadhar linkage to 31 March 2018 shall apply, besides the schemes of the Ministries/Departments of the Union government to all state governments in similar terms. As a consequence of the extension of the deadline to 31 March 2018, it is ordered accordingly."
The court also clarified that "in so far as the provisions of Section 139 AA of the Income Tax Act, 1961 are concerned, the matter stands governed by the judgment of this Court in Binoy Visman v Union of India."
Section 139AA of the Income-Tax Act, 1961 as introduced by the Finance Act, 2017 provides for mandatory quoting of Aadhaar / Enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form, for filing of return of income and for making an application for allotment of Permanent Account Number with effect from 1st July, 2017. (ANI)