An address proof acceptable for almost all facilities like a new bank account, passport, license, etc.
Unique Identification Authority of India introduced Aadhaar as a portable identity, which can be authenticated anytime anywhere. Now, it is the world’s largest biometric ID system, with over 1.19 billion enrolled members as of 30 Nov 2017. With a lot of confusion about the deadlines for the linking of Aadhaar to various services like banking and telephone, some debate that it is helpful, while many are against it. Lawyers talk about the merits and demerits of the linking.
The 12 digit unique identification number Aadhaar, issued by the federal body — Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) — to all residents of India, as directed by the Aadhaar Act, 2016, contains the biometric details and iris scan of every individual. While the obtaining of the Aadhaar was made compulsory and it was under process, people were also asked to link their Aadhaar with other important services such as banking, PAN, ration card, telecom service providers and a few more. Soon, about 147 documents were listed to be linked with the Aadhaar card. Although the majority of the population started linking their Aadhaar with the services, many also still have a confusion about why it has to be done, what are the risks involved and what could be the possible positive outcomes.
I feel that linking of Aadhaar to several services is a great way to move the economy forward. If there is an assurance from the government that the data is safe, there’s no need for the public to worry at all. Crimes will be reduced by a great number.
The government also states benefits such as:
You can get the LPG subsidy in your bank account. All you need to do is furnish your Aadhaar Unique Identification Number (UIN). In fact, all government-related subsidies will reach you directly, thanks to your Aadhaar Card. There is no need to register separately for every government benefit.
The society will become more disciplined. Wrong-doers will not commit crimes because they will be easily caught. Also, by linking Aadhaar with a bank account, an individual’s bank account details are known to the government. They need to file proper income tax, which will thereby increase the revenue for the government. More funds mean better facilities for the public — thereby also reducing black money and other financial crimes.
— The writer is from the Chennai High Court and fights for societal and family cases.
Think of a common man, who has to stand in long queue to get the Aadhaar card. The concept of right of privacy enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India will be only for the sake of reading. The danger to privacy is more because India does not have a data protection regime to prevent or punish personal data leakage.
“The Central Government or, as the case may be, the State Government may, for the purpose of establishing identity of an individual as a condition for receipt of a subsidy, benefit or service for which the expenditure is incurred from, or the receipt therefrom forms part of, the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI), require that such individual undergo authentication, or furnish proof of possession of Aadhaar number…” as stated in the Section 7 of the Constitution.
Aadhaar card is also not a proof of Indian citizenship. The matter has been decided by the Hon’ble High Court of Calcutta dated 30th November 2016 in Re Rani Mistri Case. The Aadhaar scheme has all those necessary ingredients that could easily push the common law abiding citizen into grave danger — primarily because, to get the Aadhaar card, one must first disclose all personal details to the government which then holds on to it permanently.
This essentially means that through Aadhaar, the central government will be in a position to hold virtually anybody at ransom if and when it wants to. The threats can also arise from the mischievous elements in the society including the mafia who, perhaps with a little effort, could always lay their hands on the income tax returns of individuals. Hence, I personally feel that India is not matured enough right now to take Aadhaar card like any other developed western nation. It is also not legally correct to thrust the Aadhaar Card on Indians now. Hence, considering the desperate appeals and petitions, the Supreme Court had set up a five judge bench and given orders in favour of the general masses and has extended the deadlines till March 2018.
— The writer is a prominent Chennai-based lawyer. He is actively involved in many pro bono activities through Chennai Lawyers.