CHENNAI: Flouting the Supreme Court's judgment on Aadhaar, HDFC Bank has made it mandatory for customers to provide Aadhaar details and thumb impressions to avail certain services. However, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in an RTI response to The New Indian Express, said it has not given any such direction.
During the lockdown, many individuals as well as corporate account holders were forced to avail banking services online, for which a mobile number and email address are essential.
However, many bank accounts either had old records or incorrect information. HDFC told its customers they won’t be able to update their email address or mobile number without submitting their Aadhaar. It also said thumb impressions of such customers will be validated.
"The bank will validate the thumb of customers through electronic devices with Aadhaar data, only then their request to update personal data such as email address and mobile number will be accepted," said a bank official at Korattur branch of HDFC.
RBI norms mandate that banking customers must be given text alerts on their mobiles for financial transactions of savings and credit card accounts. "For any online transaction, OTP is sent to the mobile number.
And mobile numbers are changed for various reasons. If I have to update my number, the bank demands my 'thumb' impression along with Aadhaar. How are banks allowed to introduce such norms overnight?" asked a HDFC bank customer.
Such measures violate banking norms, Supreme Court orders and human rights laws, rued a consumer activist.
T Sadagopan, president of the TN Progressive Consumers' Centre said, "The Supreme Court has clearly said Aadhaar cannot be made compulsory except for benefit schemes. HDFC has violated customers’ privacy and failed to provide banking services as per regulations. RBI should take action against the bank."
He added that Aadhaar is being demanded arbitrarily by institutions because no action is taken against violators. The RBI, in response to an RTI query, said no norms mandate Aadhaar for updating personal details. HDFC officials refused to comment and did not respond to an email and a letter on the issue.