December 15, 2017 / 5:38 AM / a year ago

India's top court extends deadline on Aadhaar linkage amid legal challenges

NEW DELHI, Dec 15 (Reuters) - India’s Supreme Court on Friday passed interim orders extending the linking of the country’s biometric ID program to welfare schemes to March 31, as it weighs petitions on the legitimacy of the government’s demand to make Aadhaar mandatory for a range of services.

The government had earlier set a deadline of December 31 for Aadhaar linkage.

The court also ruled that new bank accounts could be opened without an ID number, but that it had to be furnished by March 31. It also ordered that mobile phone numbers had to be linked by the same date.

A five-member constitution bench of the Supreme Court is currently holding hearings over whether the government’s push to link Aadhaar, a controversial biometric identification program, to private and public services infringes on individual privacy rights. Final hearings on the constitutional validity of the program are set to begin on 17th January. (Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty; Writing by Rahul Bhatia; Editing by Euan Rocha)

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