The RBI's clarification has come in the wake of news reports saying that linking bank accounts with Aadhaar was not mandatory.
In an RTI query filed by Moneylife.in the RBI said that they have not given any notification to link the 12-digit biometric Aadhaar with bank accounts by December 31, 2017.
The RBI, in its reply, said it has not filed any petition before the Supreme Court, which has said Aadhaar is not illegal and privacy is not absolute. In the case in non-compliance, the bank accounts will cease to be operational.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Saturday clarified that linking of Aadhaar card with bank accounts is mandatory under the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017.
The government in June had made Aadhaar mandatory for opening bank accounts as well as for any financial transaction of Rs 50,000 and above. The failure to do so by the deadline of December 31 will result in deactivation of the bank accounts and the bank will stop availing its services.
The query also explicitly asked if the apex bank had taken permission from the Supreme Court for mandatory linking of bank accounts with Aadhaar.
While banks have been threatening their account holders to furnish UIDAI-issued Aadhaar to experience seamless banking experience or face suspension of their accounts, RBI has made it clear that it has not issued instructions regarding mandatory linking of the two.
Another organisation All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) has also registered their protest against instructions given by some of the banks to designate certain branches as special cells for enrolment of Aadhaar. According to reports, the RBI said it did not. "It's not the government's business to prescribe what banks and their customers should do", a customer complained.
The government in Budget 2017 had already mandated seeding of Aadhaar number with Permanent Account Number to avoid individuals using multiple PANs to evade taxes.