SC seeks Centre's reply on Aadhaar Act

Marie Harrington
November 4, 2017

A bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan gave this direction when it was brought to the court's notice that the messages being sent by banks and telecom service providers lacked information on the last date for linking accounts and phones to Aadhaar.

Over the last few months, service providers have been calling and sending messages/emails to customers to link their bank accounts/phone numbers to Aadhaar or face deactivation of services, causing concern.

Some petitioners in the top court have said the linking of the 12-digit identification number with bank accounts and mobile numbers is "illegal and unconstitutional".

When the government denied that such messages were being sent, one of the judges, Justice AK Sikri commented: "Initially I didn't want to say because the press is here, but I am also receiving such messages".

This is what the Supreme Court was referring when it observed that panic might set in among people if clarity on the deadline to link Aadhaar to bank accounts and phone connection is not provided.

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The bench, however, said the petitioners can raise this issue before the court which would hear all Aadhaar-related matters in the last week of November.

"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".

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

The apex court made the aforementioned observations after the matter came up before it following a petition by Karnataka's Mathew Thomas who had challenged the validity of the Aadhaar Act on the basis that it violates the Right to Privacy. And the deadline for the mobile number with Aadhaar card linkage can not be done unilaterally, since it was fixed by the Supreme Court.

Earlier on Monday, while hearing a separate petition challenging the mandatory linking of mobile phones with Aadhhar, the apex court had asked the government to file its response in next four weeks.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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