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Centre moves to make Aadhaar voluntary for banking, phones

December 19, 2018

A new updated law that makes sharing of Aadhaar details voluntary for cellphone connections, bank accounts, and other services, is likely to be passed in the winter session of Parliament.

This is a step towards making changes to the law. The Cabinet has signed off on the changes and then the draft bill will be introduced in the Parliament.

This is after the Supreme Court set aside Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act. The section allows private companies to demand the unique identity number before providing services.

This means that an Aadhaar card holder can refuse to share details for opening a bank account or getting a mobile phone SIM card. This was earlier necessary for many services.

The law will also be amended in all likelihood to protect the privacy of the Aadhaar card holder. Those who demand an Aadhar card without approval can be penalized by the UIDAI.

The court has said that while the Aadhaar card empowers the marginalized, it did not allow private companies to demand access to sensitive information about the card holder, like bank account details and biometric data.

But the Aadhaar card has to be linked to PAN (Permanent Account Numbers), which is required for filing tax returns.

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