Wednesday, 14 March 2018

SC extends Aadhaar linking deadline 'indefinitely' but you may still need it for these services

It is not just mobile phones and bank accounts, but it is not a must for issuance of passports as well.
Those who have not linked their Aadhaar number with their bank accounts, mobile SIM cards, and other financial services and documents can rest easy. However, you may still have to provide your Aadhaar to avail of government welfare schemes and subsidies like LPG and kerosene, and scholarships.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court said in a ruling that the mandatory linking of bank accounts and mobile phones will stand extended 'indefinitely' till judgement on the petitions pending before it is pronounced. Reportedly, the ruling added that except for subsidies, the Centre and States cannot insist on Aadhaar for any service, including issuance of passports. It also said that the relief will not apply to services and subsidies under section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016.
While the SC has said that all services are exempt from Aadhaar linking except government subsidies, the UIDAI tweeted that "the requirement of Aadhaar for opening new bank accounts and applying for Tatkal passports under the relevant laws continues."

What is section 7?
Section 7 of the Aadhaar Act states that Central or State Governments can make possession of an Aadhaar number or Aadhaar authentication mandatory for receipt of subsidies, benefits or services funded out of the Consolidated Fund of India. At the same time, the section also states that an individual who has not been assigned an Aadhaar number, shall be enrolled for Aadhaar and offered an alternate and viable means of identification for receipt of subsidy, benefit or service till 12-digit biometric number is assigned to him.

Until there's further clarity, here is a list of services and documents that are exempt from Aadhaar linking and where you would still need it.

Aadhaar linking not must as of now:
• Existing bank accounts
• Mobile SIM cardsPassports
• PAN Card, as per UIDAI tweet
Because SC has extended the deadline indefinitely for bank accounts, therefore by implication it would appear that the deadline is also extended indefinitely for linking of Aadhaar with Insurance, mutual funds and small savings schemes, and employee pension scheme.

Where you need still Aadhaar as per UIDAI:
• Opening a new bank account 
• Availing government subsidies 
• Applying for tatkal passports 

Aadhaar and its many controversies
The Ministry of Finance amended the Prevention of Money-Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005 through a notification dated June 1, 2017. Last year saw several controversies on linking of the 12-digit biometric number with various government services. While the Supreme Court is yet to decide on several petitions to make Aadhaar mandatory for government services and the overarching matter of citizens' right to privacy, it has now extended the Aadhaar linking deadline indefinitely for bank accounts, mobile SIM cards, and other financial services.

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