"The deadline for linkage of Aadhaar with mobile phone number can not be modified by the government unilaterally (as it is fixed by the SC)", the Centre said, adding that it has made a decision to extend the deadline for linking Aadhaar with existing bank accounts till 31 March.
Earlier, the apex court ruled that the Central government must direct banks to send messages to customers informing about the last date for linking Aadhaar with bank account.
Petitioners challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar have alleged that customers were being bombarded with messages threatening deactivation of bank accounts and mobile phone connections if they failed to link them with their UIDAI numbers.
The ruling was given by a bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.
The bench ordered telcos and banks not to create panic among people and asked them to specify in the messages that the deadline for Aadhaar-bank account linkage is December 31 and February 6 for mobile phones.
One of the petitions contended that the Department of Telecom (DoT) "malafidely" interpreted an apex court order in the "Lokniti Foundation Case" and issued a circular mandating Aadhaar as the only means of authentication for proof of identity (PoI) and proof of address (PoA) of mobile subscribers. The deadline for linkage of Aadhaar with SIM "cannot be modified by the government unilaterally (as it is fixed by the SC), said the government". It added for existing account holders, the deadline for Aadhaar based verification is being extended to March 31 and no coercive action will be taken till then, reported in Times of India.
A three-judge bench will examine later this month whether the provisions in the Aadhaar Act and the notifications issued by the government for its use in welfare schemes violate the right to privacy - upheld as a fundamental right by the Supreme Court recently.