Stop terrifying over Aadhaar linkage: SC to banks, telcos

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The Supreme Court issues a notice to the Centre on pleas challenging the linking of bank accounts and mobile numbers with Aadhaar.

KV Vishwanathan apprised the Bench on the issue of linking mobile numbers to Aadhaar and said that a time limit should be specified by the mobile service providers for the same.

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the linking of Aadhaar with mobile phones and banks, but made it clear that the banks and telecom service providers will have to indicate the deadline for the same in their communications with customers.

The bench ordered telcos and banks not to create panic among people and asked them to specify in the messages that the deadline for Aadhaar-bank account linkage is December 31 and February 6 for mobile phones. The Centre is likely to extend the deadline for linking bank accounts to 31 March 2018.

"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 apex court has left the decision on a constitutional bench that will decide on this matter later this month.

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The Centre further added that the 12-digit number and the mobile number must be linked within the stipulated time frame since a decision like extending the deadline can not be extended unilaterally.

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.

If you're among those who receive constant, nagging "reminders" to link your Aadhaar number with your bank account and mobile phone connection, then the Supreme Court shares your anguish.

Earlier, while hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the mandatory use of Aadhaar as an infringement of privacy, a nine-judge constitution bench had upheld the Right to Privacy as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution of India.