"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 government has made Aadhar card compulsory for opening new bank accounts and making a transaction above Rs 50,000 with effect from July this year.
The RBI said the anti-money laundering rules announced in June 2017 have "statutory force" and banks have to implement them without awaiting further instructions.
The Reserve Bank of India has said that linking of bank accounts to bio-metric identity number Aadhaar is mandatory putting an end to the media speculation that linkage is voluntary. The RBI replied saying it has not filed any petition before the SC. The union government has said it would extend until December 31 the deadline to furnish Aadhaar to avail benefits of social welfare schemes.
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The RTI query was filed by a website seeking copies of either the circular or notification issued by the RBI on seeding of Aadhaar and bank accounts. The petition before the court argues that the directive to link Aadhaar violates the fundamental right to privacy and equates citizens with money launderers.
"That is one billion unique Aadhaar numbers linked to one billion bank accounts and one billion mobile phones. It may be noted that Reserve Bank has not yet issued an instruction in this regard".
The response indicates that the choice on obligatory connecting of bank accounts with Aadhaar originates from the central government alone and not the RBI.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in Budget 2017, had mandated seeding of Aadhaar number with Permanent Account Number (PAN) to avoid individuals using multiple PANs to evade taxes.