The Cabinet on Monday approved amending two laws to get legal backing for seeding Aadhaar information with mobile numbers and bank accounts, sources said.
The Cabinet approved amendments to the Telegraph Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after a Supreme Court judgment in September restricted private companies from using Aadhaar.
Sources said the two Acts will be amended to provide for voluntary sharing of the 12-digit identification number for obtaining new mobile phone connections and for the opening of bank accounts.
The Supreme Court had on September 26 struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act that made seeding of the biometric ID with SIMs and bank accounts mandatory, saying it had no legal backing.
To overcome this lacuna, the Telegraph Act is being amended to provide legal backing for the issuance of mobile SIMs through Aadhaar.
Similarly, the amendment to the PMLA will give individuals option to link their bank accounts to Aadhaar in the KYC option.
The Supreme Court judgment held the constitutional validity of Aadhaar for the distribution of state-sponsored welfare subsidies but ruled that it cannot be made mandatory for opening bank accounts or providing mobile-phone connections. The ruling followed petitions by activists and lawyers citing privacy concerns.
Conceptualised under the previous UPA regime in 2009, under the extraordinary Aadhaar programme provides for giving every resident a biometric ID by assigning a unique 12-digit identification number after collecting their biometric data and photographs. It was envisioned as a cost-saving tool that could improve the delivery of services and subsidies to poor by eliminating bogus beneficiaries and checking diversions.