Hearing the Aadhar deadline extension plea, Supreme Court’s five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Tuesday refused to extend the deadline of March 31 for linking of Aadhaar with the welfare schemes where benefits are transferred to citizens from the Consolidated Fund of India. In its earlier order on March 13, apex court extended the March 31 deadline for an indefinite time for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phone numbers. Providing relief, top court allowed the government to link the Aadhaar number of beneficiaries for transfer of benefits of schemes funded from this fund. 

The bench said, “We will not pass any interim order at this stage and added that the petitioner may argue this aspect in their rejoinder submissions. The top court announced its order after UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey concluded his presentation, claiming it would take billions of years to decrypt the saved data, including the biometrics and the success rate of Aadhaar authentication in government systems was 88%. However, representing his petitioner senior lawyer KV Viswanath said, ” If the data of UIDAI says that there was only 88% success rate of Aadhaar authentication, then it means that 12% people are excluded from the benefits in schemes linked with Aadhaar. 12% failure is too high.”

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Attorney General K K Venugopal opposed the plea saying “nobody has been excluded. Not a single case is there where denial of benefits (for want of Aadhaar) has taken place”. Two days ago, UIDAI said it will introduce the face authentification feature from coming July 1. Currently, Aadhaar only includes iris or fingerprint scan as security feature and means of verifying Aadhaar users. The introduction of this new feature by UIDAI came after some people find difficulties in verification of 12-digit unique number holders.

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