The Supreme Court of India has indefinitely extended the deadline to link the Aadhaar to Bank accounts, PAN and Sim cards.
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra led a five-judge bench On March 7 extended the deadline to link Aadhaar cards to Bank accounts, PAN and Sim cards, Tatkal Passport and for opening a new bank account. The decision was supposed to be made by the 31st March which the bench sees as impossible due to lack of time.
The Aadhaar will remain mandatory for availing social security benefits , services and subsidies.
Technology experts as well as the Campaigners have raised serious concerns about the privacy and safety of data, the susceptibility of biometrics to failure, and the data could be misused for profiling or increased surveillance.
During the 2017 Budjet, the BJP-led NDA government rolled out a provision, where they made the 12 digit Aadhaar Card number mandatory while applying for PAN card as well as when filing Income Tax returns and availing other government subsidy schemes. The main aim of this exercise was to link the PAN with Aadhaar and thereby, also identify tax evaders.
However, Aadhaar in the past few months, has faced severe criticism on fronts of security. Recently the Aadhaar system was hacked by a self-proclaimed French cyber-security expert who calls himself, Elliot Alderson. The expert posted a video on social media, detailing how to crack into the application in just a fraction of seconds.
Another leakage complaint was reported after an unidentified group on Whatsapp shared links containing the login and the password details of 1 bilion Indian citizens. Not only that, this group even shared the entire functioning of the Aadhaar software from which an individual can easily print one’s Aadhaar details hassle free.
A group of petitioners are demanding the Supreme Court to declare that the government’s insistence on Aadhaar disclosure is a violation of the right to privacy. In August 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that privacy is a fundamental right, but made it clear that the decision on the constitutional validity of Aadhaar would be taken separately.