AADHAR : Linking Bank Accounts and Sims

Context:
  • Linking of Aadhaar.
  • A bank account and mobile phone connection is the personal property of an individual.
  • Compelling citizens to part with their biometric details compromises India’s international law obligations. It goes against the very concept of the expression ‘limited government’, which means the State cannot act against the spirit and the assurance of the Constitution.
 
In news:
  • The Supreme Court will hear a petition challenging the government move to link bank accounts and mobile phones with Aadhaar numbers, saying it violates the fundamental right to privacy and equates citizens, including the elderly, women and students, with money launderers.
 
Petition:
  • The petitioner has challenged Rule 2(b) of the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017 for mandatory submission of Aadhaar number for individual clients, companies, partnership firms and trusts for opening of bank accounts, maintaining existing bank accounts, making financial transactions of and above ₹50,000 and crediting foreign remittance into ‘small accounts’.
  • Directives issued: Existing bank account holders have been directed to furnish Aadhaar numbers by December 31, 2017.
  • Non-compliance incurs the same liability as Section 5 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (for involvement in money laundering), that is rendering the concerned bank account in-operational.
  • Present and potential bank account holders, who do not wish to part with their biometric information, are therefore treated on par with alleged offenders under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
  • The petition also challenges the Department of Telecom circular, which makes it mandatory for all mobile phone holders to link their mobile phone numbers with Aadhaar.
  • Violative of Article 300A: The mobile phone circular is violative of Article 300A of the Constitution which protects a person’s right to not be deprived of property.
  • Besides, both the provision and the circular are violative of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 which limits the purpose of the Aadhaar number to receipt of a public subsidy, benefit or a service.
 
 
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