Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Aadhaar Bill – Everything You Must Know.

In early July 2019, the Rajya Sabha passed an amendment on the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) bill that made its use voluntary for the opening of new bank accounts and mobile phone connections. With this amendment, the bill complies with the Supreme Court order and the ordinances put in place over the use of the Aadhaar card have been replaced. Let us find out more about the new Aadhaar Bill.
What Is The Aadhaar Bill?
The Aadhaar bill was first introduced to the Indian Parliament in 2016. It is a money bill that aims at providing legal backing and legislative support for the Aadhaar unique identification number project. Most of the bill’s provisions were borrowed from the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010. 
Legal Issues That Made the SC Step In
The main legal issues which made the Supreme Court step in were:
1. Privacy
People opposing the bill argued that the extent of data about an individual collected by the Aadhaar bill interfered with the fundamental right to privacy as mentioned by Article 21 in the Constitution.
2. Mandatory vs Voluntary
The opposition raised questions about how the Aadhaar could be made mandatory for government services and benefits that citizens were entitled to. In 2015, an interim order was passed stating that the Aadhaar would not be mandatory to government services and could be used for only 7 schemes.
3. Linking Aadhaar with PAN
After it was made mandatory to mention the Aadhaar number while filing tax returns and applying for a new PAN number a petition was made arguing that it interfered with an individual’s fundamental rights to equality and the right to practice any trade or profession.
4. Money Bill
Questions were raised as to how the Aadhaar Act qualified as a Money Bill since it did not contain any provisions related to Government expenditure and taxation. 
Amended Bill – Highlights 
The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced on June 24th and passed on July 4th by the Lok Sabha and on July 8th by the Rajya Sabha. Some of the salient points of this Bill were:
1. Offline verification of Aadhaar number holder: The bill allows for offline verification of a person’s identity through modes specified by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) by agencies after:
  • obtaining the individual’s consent.
  • informing them of alternatives to sharing information.
  • not collecting, using or storing Aadhaar number or biometric information. 

2. Voluntary use: Aadhaar eKYC has been made voluntary as a form of establishing an identity for offline verification or authentication. Individuals can get a new mobile phone connection and open bank accounts even if they do not have an Aadhaar number. 
3. Entities using Aadhaar: Entities may be allowed to authenticate identity through Aadhaar only if the UIDAI is satisfied that it:
  • Complies with specified standards of security and privacy.
  • Is permitted by law.
  • Seeks Aadhaar authentication in the interest of the state and for a purpose specified by the central government.

4. Aadhaar number of children: The consent of a parent or guardian is needed when a child is enrolled with an Aadhaar number and the child may choose to cancel the Aadhaar on reaching the age of 18 years.
5. Complaints: Individuals may register complaints in cases such as the disclosure of identity and impersonation. Earlier, courts could take cognizance of an offense only if the UIDAI registered a complaint.
6. Penalties: Violating provisions on Aadhaar authentication eKYC data can attract a penalty of as much as Rs1 crore and jail time.
For more information contact us.
We, Finahub, are experts in Aadhaar related products and services like eSign, eKYC, Authentication, etc. If you want to know how your enterprise can start using it, please give us a call @ 0484 2388285 or email us at [email protected]