NEW DELHI, March 13 (Xinhua) -- India's apex court - Supreme Court of India on Tuesday indefinitely extended the March 31 deadline for mandatory linking of "Aadhaar" with bank accounts and mobile phones.
Aadhaar is a 12-digit unique identity number issued to all residents in India based on their biometric and demographic data. Launched in 2010, the 1.3-billion-U.S. dollar scheme has distributed Aadhaar card to nearly 1.19 billion residents till November 30, 2017.
The Unique Identity Number contained in Aadhaar cards is robust enough to eliminate duplicate and fake identities, and can be verified and authenticated in an easy, cost-effective way.
On December 15 last year, the apex court had extended the deadline for linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phone to March 31 this year. However, the Supreme Court today extended it indefinitely.
In its interim order, the apex court said its interim order on not insisting Aadhaar, except for giving subsidy, will remain in force till the five-judge bench gives its judgment on petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar.
The government cannot insist on mandatory Aadhaar even for issuance of instant passport, the court said in its order.