Centre may amend acts to legally back Aadhaar linkage

The proposed amendments would make Aadhaar a valid document for KYC once again - but will also allow using other documents in its place. Representative image

The Centre is considering amending the Telegraph Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act to give linking mobile numbers and bank accounts to Aadhaar a legal backing, according to a report by the Economic Times.

According to the report, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology has moved a proposal which is being examined by other stakeholder ministries, including finance and telecom.

In addition, the proposal also seeks to provide legal backing to the virtual token introduced by the UIDAI to prevent sharing of the Aadhaar number.

The move comes after the Supreme Court judgement on Aadhaar, which struck down Section 57 - that allowed private entities to access the Aadhaar database for verficiation, effectively rendering Aadhaar moot for mobile phones and bank accounts.

The Telegraph Act was introduced in the British Raj and is currently used by the Centre to control the establishment, maintenance and operation of all forms of wired and wireless communication in the country.

The PMLA Act amendment will include the option of Aadhaar linking to bank accounts for the purposes of KYC. The linking of Aadhaar would be made mandatory and customers will have the choice to use other valid documents.

Besides this, the Centre is said to be considering changes in rules to regulate access to the Aadhaar database and increase civil liabilities for misuse. It is also considering tabling the Data Protection Bill in the Winter Session of Parliament.

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