Specify deadline for Aadhaar linkage, SC tells banks & mobile operators

Trevor Jackson
November 4, 2017

The Supreme Court today sought the government's response on four petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act and linking of bank accounts and mobile numbers with the 12-digit biometric identification number.

Mobile operators, banks and other service providers must clearly indicate the actual deadline for linking the Aadhaar number, the Supreme Court has said on a day it emerged that a judge has also been receiving reminders.

On March 23, the Department of Telecommunications had issued a notice, making it mandatory for all telecom companies to re-verify existing customers through the Aadhaar-based E-KYC process, by February 6, 2018. And now from 1st December 2017, Aadhaar cardholders can link their Unique Identity Number UID with the mobile number.

Justice Sikri jokingly said that even he receives calls and messages asking him to link his accounts with Aadhaar.

The Centre's statement comes at a time when the apex court is set to hear a number of petitions that speaks against linking one's mobile number with Aadhaar, citing privacy concerns.

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The Central Government has made it mandatory for all financial institutions, including banks, to verify and link Aadhaar of their customers with their accounts.

However to open new accounts, Aadhaar would be mandatory with immediate effect, the Centre also stated. "For existing account holders, the deadline for Aadhaarbased verification is being extended to March 31 and no coercive action will be taken till then", the Centre's affidavit added.

However, the petitioners challenging the Aadhaar scheme argue that the mandatory requirement of Aadhaar for public welfare schemes constrict rights and freedoms which a citizen has always been enjoying.

The Centre had submitted an affidavit stating that Rule 2 (b) of the Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017 requires Aadhaar for opening new bank accounts and verification of existing accounts.

The SC bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan issued the direction while hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the Aadhaar Act.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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