The central government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it was ready to extend the deadline to link Aadhaar with various services to March 31 next year. This would, however, be for those who do not already have Aadhaar. Those who already have Aadhaar will have to link it to services by December 31.

The top Court said that on Monday, October 30, it will hear all the pleas challenging the decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for access to various services.

Earlier, senior advocate Shyam Divan, who is arguing for one of the petitioners challenging the government’s decision to link Permanent Account Numbers with Aadhaar, said the manner in which Aadhaar was spreading was “completely unconstitutional”. He said that even people with Aadhaar did not want to link it to their bank accounts and to mobile phones, and that coercion was “continuing for those who have an Aadhaar”.

Attorney General KK Venugopal said that government wanted the case to be deferred because a committee was looking into drafting a data protection law.

Divan and other lawyers appearing for the petitioners raised strong objections to this and the decision to not extend the deadline for those who already have Aadhaar. The Attorney General then said he did not have a problem with the case being heard early and that he would take take further instructions on the matter of extension and return on Monday.

So far, more than 50 central schemes have been linked with Aadhaar. It was also made mandatory to file Income Tax returns. This was despite the Supreme Court restricting the usage of Aadhaar to six schemes. However, a Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court is still hearing arguments challenging the validity of Aadhaar.