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SC tells banks, telcos: Message to customers must specify deadline for linking Aadhaar

The court, however, refused to order an interim stay, saying all Aadhaar-related cases had already been marked for hearing in the last week of November.

Written by Ananthakrishnan G | New Delhi | Updated: November 4, 2017 8:51 am
Aadhaar, Aadhaar linking deadline, Supreme court on Aadhaar, Aadhaar linkage, Aadhaar card, Supreme court, indian express news, India news The Supreme Court, however, refused to order an interim stay, saying all Aadhaar-related cases had already been marked for hearing in the last week of November.

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered banks and telecom service providers to specify the last date for linking bank accounts and cellphone numbers with Aadhaar in their messages to customers.

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.

The petitioners’ counsel told the court that the messages sent by banks and telecom service providers, warning that their services would be deactivated if Aadhaar was not linked, were creating panic among customers, and the last date should be mentioned.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said these were only verbal assertions.

Justice Sikri then replied: “The press is here and I didn’t want to say this. But I am also getting the messages.”

“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 court, however, refused to order an interim stay, saying all Aadhaar-related cases had already been marked for hearing in the last week of November. The court said there was no need for an interim stay as there was time till December 31 to link Aadhaar to bank accounts, and till February 6 to link it to mobile numbers.

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.

The bench said the concerns were important, but added that the petitioners could raise these before the bench that is slated to hear all Aadhaar-related matters in the last week of November.

“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.

The AG said the Centre was seized of the matter and had appointed a committee under former Supreme Court Judge B N Srikrishna to draw up a data protection policy, which is likely to be submitted in the first week of March.

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. “Therefore… existing bank accounts will not be made non-operational for not linking with Aadhaar” till March 31, 2018, it said. But for opening new accounts, the unique id or the number of enrolment for the scheme has to be furnished.

On October 25, the Centre told another bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra that it was open to extending the March 31, 2018 deadline for making Aadhaar mandatory for social welfare schemes.

On linking cellphone numbers with Aadhaar, the latest affidavit says that it is being done as per the orders of the apex court, and hence the deadline cannot be modified unilaterally.

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  1. S
    Sangat Singh
    Nov 4, 2017 at 11:21 am
    Aadhaar Linkage: It has gone to such ridiculous length that, in Delhi, even issue of monthly pass requires this card.
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    1. M
      Manish
      Nov 4, 2017 at 9:33 am
      This is called "running with the hares and hunting with the wolves" because when you say mention deadline it means that you want people to take the Aadhaar card. If you want them to take the card then why pretend to hear all these pe ions against it?? Once you take the card all your details have been captured already and for all we know it is already in the hands of people you don't want it to be. Democracy is being subverted by politicians who are power hungry. This is a subtle way of introducing emergency which most people don't realise because they were fed the propaganda that it is to enable subsidy transfer. And the courts are twiddling their thumbs dishing out treatises on privacy but not having the courage to go against the establishment.
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      1. Sudarshan Nityananda
        Nov 4, 2017 at 7:56 am
        How does mention of a last date for linking make it less of a pressure point ? IF the SC decides in end Nov that AAdhaar need not be linked to mobiles, we will find that 80 have already done so !! What is the use of all this , if there is a delayed judgement ? Anyhow, most people have linked Aadhaar to bank accounts, so this hearing is becoming more and more meaningless, due to the fait accompli.'
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        1. R
          Reader
          Nov 4, 2017 at 7:13 am
          The biometrics-based Aadhaar program is inherently flawed. Biometrics can be easily lifted by external means, there is no need to hack the system. High-resolution cameras can capture your fingerprints and iris information from a distance. Every eye hospital will have iris images of its patients. So another person can clone your fingerprints and iris images without your knowledge, and the same can be used for authentication. That is why advanced countries like the US, UK, etc. did not implement such a self-destructive biometrics-based system.
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          1. R
            Reader
            Nov 6, 2017 at 10:04 am
            If the biometric details of a person are COMPROMISED ONCE, then even a new Aadhaar card will not help the person concerned. This is NOT like blocking an ATM card and taking a new one.
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          2. R
            Reader
            Nov 4, 2017 at 7:13 am
            UK’s Biometric ID Database was dismantled. Why the United Kingdom's biometrics-linked National Identi-ty Card project to create a centralized register of sensitive information about residents similar to Aadhaar was scrapped in 2010?? The reasons were the massive threat posed to the privacy of people, the possibility of a surveillance state, the dangers of maintaining such a huge centralized repository of personal information and the purposes it could be used for, the dangers of such a centralized database being hacked, and the unreliability of such large-scale biometric verification processes. The Aadhaar program was designed in 2009 by mainly considering the 'Identi-ty Cards Act 2006' of UK, but the UK stopped that project in 2010, whereas India continued the biometrics-based program. We must think why the United Kingdom abandoned their project and destroyed the data collected. (Google: 'Identi-ty Cards Act 2006' and 'Identi-ty Documents Act 2010' )
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