The Centre on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that the deadline fixed for the mandatory Aadhaar linking with various schemes will be extended up to March 31, 2018. The union government told the Supreme Court three-judge bench that the dates for linking Aadhaar card to bank account, mobile and many other services will be extended so that more people can enroll. However, Attorney General K K Venugopal, said the last date for linking Aadhaar to mobile services will remain February 6, 2018. The central government also said it will extend the dates only for those who still don’t have an Aadhaar number.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court three-bench will set up a new constitution bench next week to hear the several interim pleas seeking a stay on government’s order of linking Aadhaar card with various schemes. The linking of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) number with bank accounts and mobile numbers had been termed as illegal and unconstitutional by some petitioners in the top court. They had even criticised the CBSE’s alleged move of making the Aadhaar card mandatory for students appearing for the examinations.

On November 30, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said with the help of Aadhaar, crores of fake names were removed from the system. “For the first time after Independence the corrupt people are scared of transacting in black money. They are scared of being caught. The black money which was earlier base of parallel economy, has now become part of formal economy,” he said. The PM also stressed that “big transformations” do not come easily and for it “hauling up of the entire system was needed”.

The issue of mandatory Aadhaar linking has been hanging in limbo in the Supreme Court since 2014.