SC asks banks, telecom firms to indicate deadline for Aadhaar linkage

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked service providers, including banks and telecom companies, to indicate the last date for customers to link their services to Aadhaar.

Over the last few months, service providers have been calling and sending messages/emails to customers to link their bank accounts/phone numbers to Aadhaar or face deactivation of services, causing concern.

The last date for linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts as of now is 31 December and for mobile numbers it is 6 February 2018. The Centre is likely to extend the deadline for linking bank accounts to 31 March 2018.

A division bench headed by justice A.K. Sikri also issued notice on a plea challenging the validity of the 2016 Aadhaar Act, citing privacy concerns and reports that the biometric system was not functioning properly.

The court said all pending petitions related to Aadhaar would be clubbed with the main petition that is slated for final disposal at the end of November by a Constitution bench.

The court was responding to a batch of petitions challenging Aadhaar’s mandatory linking with bank accounts and mobile phone numbers.

Another plea brought by Karnataka-based petitioner Mathew Thomas, who has challenged the validity of the 2016 Act citing privacy concerns and reports that the biometric system was not working properly, was also moved before the court.

On 30 October, the apex court referred all Aadhaar cases to a five-judge Constitution bench to be formed before the end of November.

The directive was passed by a bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra after it was informed by the Centre of its unwillingness to extend the deadline for linking Aadhaar to various schemes to 31 March and requesting a hearing instead.