Centre extends deadline to link Aadhaar with bank accounts

Faith Castro
December 14, 2017

The announcement followed the issuance of a government notification amending the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules to discard the December 31, 2017 deadline for the linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and PANs.

The statement added that the bank account will cease to be operational in case of failure to furnish Aadhaar and PAN as on 31March or at the end of six months.

Soon after the Centre's submission before the apex court on December 7, the Union finance ministry had relaxed the deadline for linking Aadhaar with PAN numbers till March 31, 2018.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra on Wednesday said the matter will be heard at 2 p.m. on December 14 after the matter was mentioned for hearing before the court goes into winter recess. The previous deadline for doing this was December 31.

Last week, however, the government extended the deadline to link Aadhaar with PAN to March 31.

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Senior banking sources said over 33% of bank account holders are yet to link their accounts to Aadhaar.

The rush to put out the notification today seems to have come from the impending hearing at the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Activists have filed petitions objecting against Aadhaar linking saying it breaches the Right to Privacy. However, the above amendment will not apply to the deadline for re-verification of mobile numbers with Aadhaar, which is now February 6, 2018. Several people have termed the linking of UIDAI number with bank accounts and mobile numbers as "illegal and unconstitutional".

The relaxation comes a day before a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court will hear a plea by those opposed to Aadhar for interim relief from the court.

A few months ago, the Union government had earlier made it mandatory for all bank accounts to be linked with Aadhaar. This is because the government was complying with a February 6, 2017 order of the court in the Lok Niti Foundation case to tighten up verification process of mobile phone users through Aadhaar linkage, citing national security.

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