Should you link your Aadhar card? Here's the answer

Oct 07, 2017, 09:33 IST | A Correspondent

Bombarded by bank and mobile companies about linking your account to Aadhaar? Read this

Have you been bombarded by your bank and mobile service provider over the last few weeks, asking you to immediately link Aadhaar to their service or face freezing of your bank account or denial of mobile service? Are you one of those who have an Aadhaar card and are queasy about sharing it with private service providers? Or, you don't have an Aadhaar card? Then, as we break down the chicanery of the private players, this one is for you.

Illustration/Ravi Jadhav
Illustration/Ravi Jadhav

My bank wants me to link account with Aadhaar. What does the law say?
Banks are citing a June 1 notification of the Finance Ministry under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to coerce customers to link their Aadhaar to their accounts.

So, if this is the law, how is it wrong?
Because it is in contempt of various rulings of the Supreme Court, which, between 2013 and 2015, has made it clear that Aadhaar cannot be forced upon anyone and cannot be forced to any service.
More details here: <goo.gl/mW3tXQ>

Ok, the banks are wrong, but what about my mobile service provider? My phone is essential to what I do. But they are harassing me day and night.
The MSPs are citing TRAI and DOT orders, which seem to have willfully misrepresented the SC from March 23. At the very least, the apex court just "commended" the government on its plan to verify new prepaid users and those prepaid users who wanted to reactivate their accounts. While even that is just the SC endorsing a government suggestion, if you are a postpaid customer, there is no explicit law or court ruling that mandates you to link Aadhaar to your mobile number. More details
here: <goo.gl/FR6W5r>

So, even the capricious minister is selling it as an added benefit today, after saying it is not mandatory to link to services

So, even the capricious minister is selling it as an added benefit today, after saying it is not mandatory to link to services

All this is confusing; tell me what to do.
The so-called deadline to link your bank account with Aadhaar is December 31. And for mobiles (prepaid only, which too is stretching the court order), it is February.

Then what do I do now?
The least you can do is to wait for the Supreme Court to hear the matter. The court has promised to hear it in November.

Till then, is there something I can do?
Write to your bank and MSP, saying what they are doing is tantamount to contempt of court. You can find the suitable text at the end of this link: <goo.gl/354hCb>

Final word?
If your netbanking/office/email or social media password gets compromised, you at least have the option of salvaging your account by changing the password. But if your biometric password gets compromised, what do you do? Remember, you have only a pair of eyes and one set of fingerprints. That - your life's password - can never be changed.

An email from HDFC. Other banks also send similar emails and text messages
An email from HDFC. Other banks also send similar emails and text messages

What is the absolute last that I can hold out till?
At least till November, when the SC hears the assorted cases.

What the RBI says
An excerpt from the Reserve Bank of India's response to an RTI query: The Government has issued a Gazette Notification GSR 538(E) dated June 1, 2017, regarding Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017, inter alia, making Aadhaar and Permanent Account Number (PAN) mandatory for a bank account. It may also be mentioned that the existing bank account shall cease to be operational in case Aadhaar number and PAN is not provided by December 31, 2017. Please note that the Reserve Bank of India is in the process of issuing revised instructions based on the amendment.

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