Aadhaar: Petition filed in Supreme Court challenging linking with bank account, mobile phones

Aadhaar: Petition filed in Supreme Court challenging linking with bank account, mobile phones

Murali Krishnan

A fresh petition has been filed in Supreme Court challenging the mandate by Centre to link Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phones.

The petition has been filed by Kalyani Menon a feminist researcher works on women’s rights. Menon had earlier filed a petition challenging the vires of the Aadhaar Act which is pending before the Supreme Court.

In the petition drawn by advocates Samiksha Godiyal and Udayaditya Banerjee and filed through Advocate-on-Record Vipin Nair, the petitioner has assailed Rule 2(b) of the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017 (impugned Rule).

The impugned Rule seeks to amend Rule 9 of the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005 (‘PMLA Rules’) which have been issued under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act 2005.

The impugned Rule makes submission of an Aadhaar Number mandatory for individual clients, companies, partnership firms and trusts for: a) opening of bank accounts; b) maintaining existing bank accounts; c) making any financial transactions of and above Rs. 50,000; and c) crediting foreign remittance into ‘small accounts’. Existing bank account holders have been directed to furnish Aadhaar Numbers before 31stDecember 2017 and non-compliance with the same will render bank accounts inoperative indefinitely.

The petitioner has contended that the impugned provision is violative of Articles 14, 300A and 266 of the Constitution.

“The Impugned provision is in violation of Article 300A of the Constitution. The Constitution protects the right to not be deprived of property, without due process of law. Rendering bank accounts in-operational, without the authority of law, is a violation of this constitutional right.

The Impugned Provision is in contravention of Article 266 of the Constitution of India since private bank accounts are outside the scope of the Consolidated Fund of India. Making the Aadhaar Number a mandatory condition for opening and maintaining bank accounts is ultra vires Article 266 of the Constitution.”

Further, the petitioner has challenged the Circular dated March 23, 2017 issued by the Department of Telecommunication by which it has been made mandatory for all mobile phone holders to link their mobile phone numbers with Aadhaar.

The petition states,

“It is submitted that the Impugned Circular also violates the fundamental rights and constitutional rights of persons, by requiring any mobile subscriber to link their mobile phone number with Aadhaar number as part of e-KYC requirement. It is submitted that there is no justification provided by the government which requires Aadhaar as the sole identifying proof without providing any alternative.”

The petitioner has relied on the judgment of the Supreme court on Right to Privacy and Triple Talaq to buttress her arguments.

Besides, the above, the petitioner has raised various other grounds including compromising bodily integrity and personal autonomy and other alleged risks associated with parting of bio-metrics for Aadhaar.

Based on the above, she has prayed for striking down the impugned provision and the circular.

Read the petition below.

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news