Linking Aadhaar number with bank accounts is mandatory, says RBI
The Reserve Bank of India on Saturday clarified that linkage of Aadhaar number to bank account is mandatory. The RBI's clarification came a day after it was reported that the Central bank had not issued any instruction regarding mandatory linking of the biometric-based identity number with bank account.
The RBI in its clarification said: "RBI clarifies that linking Aadhaar to bank accounts is mandatory. Some news items have appeared in a section of the media quoting a reply to a Right to Information Act application that Aadhaar number linkage with bank accounts is not mandatory."
"The Reserve Bank clarifies that, in applicable cases, linkage of Aadhaar number to bank account is mandatory under the Prevention of Money -laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017 published in the Official Gazette on June 1, 2017. These Rules have statutory force and, as such, banks have to implement them without awaiting further instructions," the RBI said.
On Friday, it was reported that the central bank had not made the linking of the two documents mandatory. The reports were based on an RTI application which was filed by a news website.
According to reports, the RBI in its respose to the RTI application said: "The Government has issued a Gazette Notification GSR 538(E) dated 1 June 2017 regarding Prevention of Money laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017, inter-alia, making furnishing of Aadhaar (for those individuals who are eligible to be enrolled for Aadhaar) and permanent number (PAN) mandatory for opening a bank account. It may be noted that Reserve Bank has not yet issued an instruction in this regard." The report also suggested that the central bank has not has not filed any petition with the Supreme Court on seeking permission of linking the Aadhaar with bank accounts.
This year in June, the government had made Aadhaar mandatory for opening bank accounts as well as for any financial transaction of Rs 50,000 and above. The government had issued a notification, saying:
"Existing bank account holders have been asked to furnish the Aadhaar number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) by December 31, 2017, failing which the account will cease to be operational."