On Wednesday, the Supreme Court passed a judgment that linking Aadhaar with your bank account or SIM card is no longer mandatory and forcing anyone to do so shall be treated as unconstitutional. For those who have already linked their 12-digit identity number issued by UIDAI, could expect the bankers and telecom service providers to issue a streamlined process to unlink Aadhaar.
Unless you are receiving any direct benefit transfers (DBT) or subsidies in your bank account, you have every right to not share your Aadhaar details with the bank or your mobile service provider. In the case of DBT, the Aadhaar needs to remain linked. Also, note that PAN has to be linked to Aadhaar for income tax purposes.
What was the basis for not making Aadhaar linking mandatory for these services?
The Supreme Court noted that on the failure to link Aadhaar to the bank account, the person would become ineligible to use their account, which means the money in it cannot be accessed. This would mean forfeiting a person from using one's own property. As the bank already had KYC methods before Aadhaar came into the picture, the need for the additional layer was unnecessary.
As for SIM cards, the Department of Telecommunications in a circular (dated 23 March 2017) directed all the service providers to verify the subscribers (new, as well as existing) using Aadhaar based e-KYC.
About that, the Supreme Court said, "Circular dated March 23, 2017 mandating linking of mobile number with Aadhaar is held to be illegal and unconstitutional as it is not backed by any law and is hereby quashed."
Note that all private mobile payment service providers like PayTM, Amazon Pay, etc also cannot demand your Aadhaar data and deprive you of any of their services for lack of it.
How to unlink Aadhaar?
Usually, for KYC (know your customer) purposes, the organisation will ask for Aadhaar details for 'Aadhaar authentication'. In the process, you will either share your biometric information (like the fingerprint) or OTP (when done online), which means that you are providing your consent to provide Aadhaar details like photograph and address to the organisation.
You can track your Aadhaar history at any point to see who has used your details.
The 'Compendium of Regulations, Circulars and Guidelines' on UIDAI's official website states that, "The Aadhaar number holder may, at any time, revoke consent given to a KUA for storing his e-KYC data or for sharing it with third parties, and upon such revocation, the KUA shall delete the e-KYC data and cease any further sharing."
This means it is completely legal to ask for a delink and you cannot be denied services for lack of Aadhaar or its details and the organisation is liable to delete any data collected before.
The service providers have not come up with a simple process to unlink the Aadhaar yet.
Some service providers like PayTM allow you to do so after you make a call to their customer care (01204456456) requesting the same. An official email will be sent to you to start the process and they will remove your Aadhaar details from their database in 72 hours.
You can try the same for your telecom service providers. In the case of bank accounts, no online method is available yet. You may visit your nearest branch and as them to unlink your Aadhaar from your bank account.