On September 26th, the Supreme Court of India passed a landmark judgement on linking the Aadhar card to major accounts. The verdict delisted the Aadhar as a mandatory document that was hitherto linked with major individual accounts including mobile phone numbers, bank accounts, school admissions and other formats that required an e-KYC.
The court claimed that having to link the card with these accounts was unconstitutional and it was up to the citizen’s discretion as to whether they want to add it or not. With that, banks and telecom operators have been ordered to streamline a delinking process to make it easier for everybody. There is still not much clarity on how to delink the same.
Rishi Gupta, MD and CEO of FINO payments bank said, “We are waiting for some communication from the UIDAI or the RBI on how to go about it (delinking) and things will become clearer.” Telecom companies have been ordered to submit the delinking process documents within 15 days of the verdict being read out.
While the process will take time for the banks, interested parties can call up customer care numbers of the banks and mobile operators and delink their Aadhar cards immediately.
Delinking was always allowed
The ‘Compendium of Regulations, Circulars and Guidelines,’ issued a note on the authentication of the Aadhar-based e-KYC, available on the UIDAI’s official website. The note reads, “"The Aadhaar number holder may, at any time, revoke consent given to a KUA for storing his e-KYC data or for sharing it with third parties, and upon such revocation, the KUA shall delete the e-KYC data and cease any further sharing."
In the mandatory linking of Aadhar to bank accounts, the SC had a few observations: “It was further submitted that in case a person fails to link Aadhaar with the bank account, such person would be rendered ineligible to operate the bank account, which would amount to forfeiting her money lying in the account which belongs to her. This amounts to depriving the person from her property. There are alternative methods of KYC which the banks are already undertaking, the state has not discharged its burden as to why linking of Aadhaar is imperative."
For mobile phone subscribers, a circular issued in March 2017 said that the Department of Telecommunications directed all licensees re-verify any existing mobile subscribers via an Aadhar based e-KYC process. However, the court has come out and said that this circular is invalid as it is unconstitutional and is hereby quashed.
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