Aadhaar is no more mandatory for mobile phones and bank accounts. The Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, last evening, approved amendment to the Telegraph Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to give legal backing to ‘voluntary’ linking of mobile numbers and bank accounts to Aadhaar.
The updated law is expected to be passed in the winter session of Parliament. According to officials, the Supreme Court had left provisions to do the same in its landmark Aadhaar verdict. “As per the judgment, Aadhaar is legitimate and constitutionally valid. It does not have any security issue or breach of privacy. By backing it legally, one can use it for banking and telecom services,” they said.
The Supreme Court in September struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, which allowed private parties to access Aadhaar data for KYC verification. This had led to concerns among players in the banking and telecom sector that they might have to go back to the earlier, time-consuming process of physical verification using paper documents.
The government also made amendment to the existing Aadhaar Act, which will ensure penalty of up to 10 years for hacking the Aadhaar site. Apart from the amendments, entities using Aadhaar authentication are directed to ensure privacy. Also, children above 18 years can choose to opt out of Aadhaar.