The instant article contains a brief detail on the Aadhaar Card controversy and the linkage with the bank accounts and mobile phone and remedies available to the consumer if they are swindled out of their life savings due to illegitimate transactions, scams and the recovery mechanism therein.
If you are a citizen of India or a vivid user of the Social Networking Sites like Twitter and Facebook and essentially not been living under a rock for the past few months, you would or rather should be confused as to how does another other identity card namely Aadhaar has for a lack of a better word ‘SCREWED’ your life. From the linkages to the bank accounts to ration shops and from birth certificate to death certificate, it seems like the only identity card ever made which should replace every other card. However, sadly that’s not the case.
LET’S UNDERSTAND WHAT EXACTLY IS AADHAAR CARD/NUMBER?
As per The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery Of Financial And Other Subsidies, Benefits And Services) Act, 2016 (‘Act’), an holder of Aadhaar is essentially a person who has been issued a unique identification number i.e. Aadhaar number under the act. However, the Aadhaar number or the authentication thereof shall not, by itself, confer any right of, or be proof of, citizenship or domicile in respect of an Aadhaar number holder. Yes, you read that right the act emphatically states that the Aadhaar Card/ Number by itself doesn’t confer any right of, or be proof of, citizenship or domicile.
In fact, the most harped about feature of the Central and State government is that without registering for Aadhaar Card/ Number, the citizens of India won’t be allowed to obtain subsidy, benefit or service for which the expenditure is incurred from, or the receipt therefrom forms part of, the Consolidated Fund of India. However, the proviso to Section 7 of the Act is emphatically clear that if an Aadhaar Number is not assigned to an individual, the individual shall be offered alternate and viable means of identification for delivery of the subsidy, benefit or service, thereby essentially clarifying two important aspects, one that Aadhaar, per say, is not an absolute form of identification and is subject to other identity verifications for domicile or citizenship purposes. However, the governmental department and/or the ration shops don’t agree with this position, since they have ‘instructions’
This brings an interesting observation as to why such ‘hue and cry’ for registration and linkages to everything that any person would own. Moreover, a perusal of the Act would reveal, that unless otherwise provided under this Act, the requesting entity needs to obtain the consent of an individual before collecting his identity information for the purposes of authentication in such manner as may be specified by regulations
Be that as it may, the ‘golden nugget’ summary of the Act is in Chapter-VI of the Act, which talks about the protection of information of the individuals. This is the troublesome issue, at least, for the citizens including the author both as a citizen of India and as an advocate. The author could narrate practical scenarios where such information had been compromised and the police refuse to act on it, let alone file a First Information Report, (‘FIR’), and the information which was wrongly collected and misused let to cheating the client of the author of his entire savings