New Delhi [India], Sep 26 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that linking Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phone numbers is not mandatory, but a must for Permanent Account Number (PAN).
"Aadhaar number is mandatory for PAN linking," the Court stated. PAN is a 10-digit alphanumeric number issued to assessees by the Income Tax Department and is mandatory for filing income tax returns.
The Court today, while announcing its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar said, "Aadhaar not needed for opening a bank A/C, and no mobile company can demand Aadhaar card for connections."
The apex court struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, hence barring private companied from seeking Aadhaar details of consumers.
With the top court's judgement, telecom service providers can no longer force customers to link their Aadhaar card to their current mobile number.
Here is a list of where things stand:
- For obtaining bank accounts - Not Required
- For SIM cards - Not Required
- School admissions - Not Required
- Examinations [NEET, CBSE, UGC] - Not Required
- Aadhaar-PAN linkage - Required
The bench headed by the CJI included Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.
The apex court announced the verdict on a number of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and it's enabling Act. The key arguments of the petitioners were that the Aadhaar scheme is unconstitutional and is in violation of the fundamental right to privacy and personal bodily autonomy.
The challenges against Aadhaar had started even before the law came into existence in 2016. At least 31 petitions, including one by former High Court judge KS Puttaswamy, have been filed in the matter.
During the course of the hearing the court, on March 13, had indefinitely extended the deadline for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phone numbers.
The counsel for the petitioners, Shyam Divan, had raised concerns over the 'integrity of the process, integrity of the information and pervasive violation of fundamental rights. He had told the apex court that Aadhaar may cause the 'death of citizens' civil rights'.
The government and the UIDAI have defended the scheme on every instance by stating that it ensures benefits are distributed among the population in a proper manner and also deter syphoning of funds. (ANI)