Mumbai, October 21, 2017

RBI clarifies that linking bank accounts to Aadhaar is mandatory under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, dismissing media reports which suggested otherwise

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Saturday clarified that linking bank accounts to Aadhaar is mandatory under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, dismissing media reports which suggested that such a linkage 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,” it said in a statement.

RBI also said that the anti-money laundering rules which were amended in June 2017 have statutory force and banks have to implement them without awaiting further instructions.

The government had notified under PMLA that every bank account should be linked to Aadhaar by 31 December, failing which the accounts will become inoperative.

The central bank’s clarification comes after an RTI reply to Moneylife.in said that it has not issued any directive that makes it mandatory to link bank accounts with Aadhaar number.

On 14 October, a fresh petition was filed in the Supreme Court challenging the government’s decision to link bank accounts and mobile phones to the 12-digit unique identity number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

Mint had also reported on Saturday that Indian Banks association has questioned the jurisdiction of the UIDAI in issuing directions to banks under the Aadhaar Act. On 7 October, the UIDAI had issued a circular, making it mandatory for banks to act as both the Aadhaar registrar and enrolment agency. Banks argue that enrolling new Aadhaar customers fall outside the purview of their core banking activity.

The Aadhaar scheme, which is the world’s largest biometric identity card programme, had triggered some claims that it is an infringement of privacy of citizens.

[Livemint]