The Union Government on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that it was willing to extend the deadline fixed for compulsory linking of Aadhaar card till March 31, 2018 for availing various services and welfare schemes.Central Government today informed the Supreme Court that it was willing to extend the deadline fixed for compulsory linking of Aadhaar card till March 31 2018.The Supreme Court is now scheduled to hear the Aadhaar card case next week.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was informed by Attorney General K K Venugopal that the Centre was willing to extend the deadline of December 31 to March 31 next year for linking of Aadhaar card with various services and schemes.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Shyam Divan had mentioned before the top court that the deadline was going to expire, so the petitioners should be heard for an interim relief.The Attorney General, however, made clear that February 6 next year would remain the deadline for linking Aadhaar for availing uninterrupted mobile services as it had been mandated by the apex court.

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for those who are opposed to Aadhaar scheme told the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, that the central government should give an undertaking that no coercive steps would be taken against those fail to link their Aadhaar with various services.

The apex court on October 30 had said that a Constitution Bench would commence hearing on the clutch of petitions against Aadhaar scheme from the last week of November.

Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution. Several petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar had claimed it violated privacy rights.

The Centre had on October 25 told the top court that the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to receive benefits of government schemes has been extended till March 31, 2018 for those who do not have the 12-digit unique biometric identification number and were willing to enrol for it.

However, the deadline for Aadhaar linking to cellphone numbers that is on February 6, cannot be extended, since the date was fixed by the apex court, the Centre added.

Earlier on October 25, the Supreme court had said that the deadline for compulsory linking of Aadhaar to receive benefits of government schemes has been extended till March 31, 2018 for those who do not have the 12-digit unique biometric identification number.

As of now, the 12-digit Aadhaar number is compulsory to be linked to bank accounts, PAN cards, government services and cell phone services.