The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request to extend the March 31 deadline to link Aadhaar numbers with various government welfare schemes, The Indian Express reported. The five-judge Constitution bench, which is hearing petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar project, turned down the petitioners’ request to extend the deadline.

The petitioners made the appeal after the Unique Identification Authority of India’s Chief Executive Officer Ajay Bhushan Pandey told the court during a presentation on March 22 that 100% Aadhaar authentication was not possible. He claimed that no one would be denied benefits because of an authentication failure. In such cases, an individual would be put on the exception register, given the benefit and then asked to update their information, he added.

Senior advocates KV Viswanathan and Shyam Divan, who appeared for the petitioners, reasoned that they were under the impression that the authentication failures were only about 23 lakh, but Pandey’s presentation showed that it was actually several crore. “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,” The Times of India quoted Viswanathan as saying. “Twelve percent failure is too high.”

Attorney General KK Venugopal asserted “nobody has been excluded” from receiving government benefits. Authentication failures did not mean that those who qualify for benefits are excluded, he said, adding that “there has not been a single case of rejection”.

The court on Tuesday extended the deadline for citizens to link their Aadhaar number with their Permanent Account Number to June 30. On March 13, it indefinitely extended the March 31 deadline to link Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile numbers. The court will hear the case next on April 3.