Aadhaar Act Current Affairs - 2019

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Aadhaar amendment Bill introduced in Lok Sabha

The government has introduced the Aadhaar amendment bill in Loksabha. The bill aims to provide legal backing for voluntary seeding of biometric Aadhaar ID for mobile SIM card and bank account authentication purposes.

Features of the Bill

The important features of the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018 are:

  • The bill seeks to amend the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002.
  • The amendment permits children, who would turn 18 years old, to opt out of the system.
  • The amendments make sharing of Aadhaar details voluntary for opening bank accounts, school admissions and procuring mobile SIM cards.
  • The bill provides for stiff penalties for violation of norms set for the use of Aadhaar.
  • The amendment bill ban storing of core biometric information as well as Aadhaar number by service providers in cases of individuals who have voluntarily offered the national ID as a means of authentication.
  • The bill makes it clear that anyone not offering Aadhaar cannot be denied any service, be it a bank account or a SIM card.
  • The bill lays down the procedure for offline verification of an Aadhaar number holder and confers enhanced regulator-like power on Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to give directions as it may consider necessary to any entity in the Aadhaar ecosystem.

Why the amendments are proposed?

While upholding the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, the Supreme Court had held struck down Section 57 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 that permitted private entities like telecom companies or other corporate to avail of the biometric Aadhaar data. Hence to address the issues like recognising the authentification of those who provided Aadhaar as the identity proof, the amendments are brought in by the government.

Review petition in SC against the Aadhaar verdict

Imtiyaz Ali Palsaniya has filed a review petition in Supreme Court against the Aadhaar verdict in which the Supreme Court had upheld the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar.

SC Verdict on Aadhaar

A five-judge constitution bench while upholding the constitutional validity of Aadhaar had struck down various provisions of the in the Aadhaar Act. Important features of the Aadhaar verdict are:

  • Supreme Court had said that sufficient security measures are taken to protect data and it is difficult to launch surveillance on citizens on the basis of Aadhaar.
  • Then CJI Deepak Mishra had asked the government to provide more security measures as well as reduce the period of storage of data.
  • Centre was asked to bring a robust law for data protection as soon as possible.
  • The Supreme Court had said that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for openings of a bank account and to get mobile connections.
  • The Supreme Court had upheld the mandatory linking of PAN with Aadhaar and Aadhaar was made mandatory for filing income tax returns.
  • The government was asked to ensure that illegal migrants are not issued Aadhaar to get benefits of social welfare schemes.
  • Private companies can’t ask for Aadhaar.
  • The Supreme Court had struck down the provision in Aadhaar law allowing sharing of data on the ground of national security.
  • The Supreme Court had also upheld the passage of the Aadhaar Bill as a Money Bill by the Parliament.

The petitioner claims that he had filed two impleadment applications on the issue and the Court had failed to consider the grounds raised while delivering the Aadhaar Verdict.