Stop terrifying over Aadhaar linkage: SC to banks, telcos

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The Supreme Court on Friday asked banks and mobile phone service providers to tell their customers the last date for linking of accounts and mobile numbers with Aadhaar.

It must be noted that the Supreme Court is yet to hear a petition regarding the linking of the Aadhaar card number with mobile numbers.

The bench, particularly Justice Sikri, agreed with the petitioners that these messages were being sent out, and expressed unhappiness over getting them, when attorney general KK Venugopal tried dismissing concerns on the matter.

The bench made the observation after the counsel for the petitioners contended that the messages without the specific deadlines were creating panic among customers that their mobile number or the bank account will be immediately invalidated.

A Constitution bench will begin hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the validity of Aadhaar linkage to mobile telephony and bank accounts on the ground that it violated citizens' right to privacy.

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"Since hearing in the case would start in the end of November and (the bank deadline is) December 31, 2017. there is no need for any interim order".

The Rule 2 (b) of the Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017 requires Aadhaar for opening new bank accounts and for verification of existing bank accounts by 31 December 31, 2017, failing which the bank accounts will cease to be operational.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said even judges are not spared from such messages, which the petitioners termed as part of coercion to link Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phones.

Several petitions challenging the Centre's move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for availing various services and benefits of welfare schemes have been filed in the top court. It added for existing account holders, the deadline for Aadhaar based verification is being extended to March 31 and no coercive action will be taken till then, reported in Times of India. And the deadline for the mobile number with Aadhaar card linkage can not be done unilaterally, since it was fixed by the Supreme Court.