Market regulator, central bank move SC on Aadhaar

The Securities Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday moved theSupreme Court for modification of the apex court’s order on Aadhaar, issued in August. The two regulators sought relaxation of the order, which stated the unique identity card should not be insisted upon except for public distribution scheme (PDS) items such as food and kerosene, and for subsidised liquefied natural gas (LPG).

Considering a large number of similar applications, including that of the Centre and the governments of Gujarat and Jharkhand, the court set the hearing of the matter on October 6.

‘AADHAAR USEFUL IN MANY WAYS’
  • According to Sebi, Aadhaar is useful in various ways for the development of the securities market
  • It works as a an easy and simplified mode of completion of know-your-client requirement, while onboarding a client by any registered intermediary in terms of prevention of money laundering norms
  • Sebi believes Aadhaar can also act as a tool for monitoring various transactions

According to Sebi, Aadhaar is useful in various ways for the development of the securities market. It works as a an easy and simplified mode of completion of know-your-client (KYC) requirement, while onboarding a client by any registered intermediary in terms of prevention of money laundering norms. Sebi believes Aadhaar can also act as a tool for monitoring various transactions by individuals across financial markets and help in early detection.

RBI wants banks and financial institutions to be allowed to accept the Aadhaar card from those who voluntarily submit it to prove their identity – in the absence of any other officially-valid document or even otherwise. They may voluntarily provide the card to avail of financial services. According the banking regulator, Aadhaar prevents fraud and helps in financial inclusion of all sections of society.

Earlier, the Centre had also moved the apex court for modification of its order. It contended that the restriction imposed by the court on Aadhaar would undermine the government’s Digital India initiatives such as biometric attendance, Jan Dhan Yojana and the pension scheme.

The Gujarat government, represented by senior counsel Harish Salve, wanted to lift the curbs not only for the PDS scheme but also for any other social welfare scheme. According to the state government’s petition, those who voluntarily accept the scheme should be able to get the government benefits. According to the state government, the information available on the card may also be used in criminal investigation. The scheme helps the entire society, especially the weaker sections, the petition said.

The Jharkhand government, too, sought similar reliefs.

The original petitioners, Puttuswamy and others, complained to the Bench headed by judge Madan Lokur that the earlier order was not given any publicity by the authorities, despite court directions. This amounted to contempt of court, counsel Shyam Divan said.