SC refuses interim stay on linking of Aadhaar to mobiles, bank accounts

Jerome Frank
November 4, 2017

"Even I get multiple calls and messages asking to link Aadhar with mobile and bank", Supreme Court judge Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri observed as the court directed banks and mobile operators to provide clarity to customers on what the last date to submit their Aadhaar numbers is. The bench however said, "Since the final hearing would start in November-end and the time for linking Aadhaar has already been extended, there is no need to pass an interim order".

The court asked the centre to direct phone companies to include in their text messages the deadlines for linking their mobile numbers and bank accounts with Aadhaar. "I do not want to say in the presence of media but I am also receiving such messages", he said in a lighter vein.

The Bench told the A-G, "If the deadline for Aadhaar linkage is extended till December 31, why are banks issuing these instructions".

One of the petitions contended that the Department of Telecom (DoT) "malafidely" interpreted an apex court order in the "Lokniti Foundation Case" and issued a circular mandating Aadhaar as the only means of authentication for proof of identity (PoI) and proof of address (PoA) of mobile subscribers. The Centre is likely to extend the deadline for linking bank accounts to 31 March 2018.

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The government's assertion acquires significance considering that the SC had on Monday sought the government's response in next four weeks while hearing a separate petition challenging the mandatory linking of mobile phones with Aadhaar.

On October 30, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had said that a Constitution bench would be constituted and Aadhaar-related matters would come up for hearing before it in the last week of November.

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.

However to open new accounts, Aadhaar would be mandatory with immediate effect, the Centre also stated.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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