The Supreme Court today directed the banks as well as the telecommunication companies to convey the last date for linking bank accounts and mobile numbers with Aadhaar in their messages to customers. Currently, the last date to link Aadhaar with bank accounts is December 31 this year while for mobile numbers, it is February 6, 2018. The apex court did not pass any interim order on the pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act as well as linking of 12-digit unique biometric identification number with bank accounts and mobile numbers. It said that final hearing in all Aadhaar-related issues would start before another bench in the last week of November and that bench would decide on the issue.
“We make it clear that in the messages sent by banks and telecom service providers, the date of December 31, 2017 and February 6, 2018, shall also be indicated as the last date of linking Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile numbers,” the bench said.
The bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan was hearing petitions challenging the validity of the Aadhaar Act and the decision to link bank accounts and mobile numbers with the unique identification number. According to the petitioners lawyer, the messages sent by the banks and telecom company warning them to link their phone numbers with Aadhar card is causing unnecessary panic amongst the people. Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said these were only verbal assertions.
Senior Counsel Arvind Dattar, appearing for a petitioner, said the notification for linking Aadhaar to bank accounts was issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Rules and this was illegal. Though the bench said that the issue was concerning, it added that the petitioner could have raised the matter before a bench slated to hear Aadhaar related cases. “There is no doubt that these arguments need
consideration. The matter is going to come up in the last week of November and the time (to link Aadhaar with bank accounts) has been extended till December 31,” the bench said. Meanwhile, in an affidavit filed on Thursday, the Centre told the court that the last date for linking bank accounts to Aadhaar may be extended from December 31, 2017 to March 31, 2018.