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04 November 2017, 12:53 | Kara Nash
An advertisement of Aadhaar featuring elderly people
The government's rule to link Aadhaar or national identity cards with mobile numbers and bank accounts will not be cancelled for now with the Supreme Court today refusing to pass any order on it, leaving the decision to a constitution bench.
The petitions sought to challenge a circular issued in March by the department of telecommunication, making it mandatory for all mobile phone holders to link their numbers with Aadhaar by February 6, 2018.
Another senior counsel Arvind Datar told the court that banks were insisting on linking Aadhaar with the bank accounts on the strength of a provision introduced by the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
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.
But the court rebuked banks and mobile phone operators saying they were creating panic with their messages warning customers about deactivating their accounts if they don't link them to Aadhaar.
The government citing an order passed by the Supreme Court, said that in February 2017, the apex court approved that all the SIM cards have to be linked with Aadhaar.
"The deadline for linkage of Aadhaar with mobile phone number can not be modified by the government unilaterally (as it is fixed by the SC)", the Times of India quoted the Centre as saying.
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.
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 November last. Also, for new bank accounts, showing proof of Aadhaar is mandatory, it said.
Furnishing a copy of the Aadhaar will also be mandatory for opening new bank accounts, the Centre informed the top court.
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